The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. board of directors approved yesterday CUC’s proposed $90,380,000 budget for fiscal year 2021, or a significant 30.41% decrease from its fiscal year 2020 budget of $129,883,000.
In a regular board meeting held via video conference, all five members approved the budget. Present were board chair Miranda V. Manglona, vice chair Weston Deleon Guerrero, Commonwealth Development Authority chair Ignacio Perez, and directors Matthew Holley and Jovita Paulino.
In a later interview, CUC executive director Gary P. Camacho said it’s a very limited budget, considering the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy. “Our numbers are as realistic as possible. And I’m glad we made some final adjustments to add a little bit more to maintenance,” Camacho said. He said maintenance is obviously essential because a lot has been deferred due to some of the accounts that have not been paid for years. “Those are affecting our ability to continue to perform maintenance in the matter we want to or we need to do,” he said.
Although they got a little bit more for maintenance, he said they still need to get some of those deferred accounts so they can re-invest in their system and ensure that they provide reliable service.
Camacho said the item mostly affected by the budget reduction is maintenance but “we had to do that because you have to understand our anticipated revenues.”
He said they need to maintain operations and stay within the budget. “It’s our projected revenues that we need to stay focused on and continue to pursue upgrades, and not only upgrades but maintenance,” Camacho said.
For fiscal year 2019, CUC’s total budget was $122,190,340, which was less than a 1% increase over 2018’s approved budget.
The bulk of CUC’s expenditures usually lie with the Power Division, which includes power generation and power transmission and distribution.