The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. is asking the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. to change its water and wastewater for the hospital from a government rate to a commercial rate, saying it has learned that there is no government rate for water and wastewater.
In a letter CHCC recently sent CUC, it has learned that only the electrical service has a government rate, which means that water and wastewater can be considered either residential or non-residential.
“On Dec. 10, 2020, the CHCC became aware that the customer classification under which the CHCC has been billed by the CUC for water and sewer—‘government’—does not exist according to CUC’s regulations for water and sewer services,” states CHCC’s letter to CUC.
In the letter, CHCC stated that CUC has to classify users of its utilities services as commercial, residential, and governmental, or other classes that CUC deems appropriate.
“For wastewater, or sewer services, CUC has determined there to be two classes of customer: residential and non-residential,” said CHCC. Non-residential customers have been determined to include barracks, hotels, restaurants with attached living quarters, etc.
CUC’s Northern Marianas Island Administrative Code §50-40-101(a)(1) states that the customers of the CUC have a right to dispute billings, including the right to dispute the applicable rate or fee, the applicable rate or fee, the computation of charges, the delivery of services charged for, including disputes regarding accuracy of metering or estimates made by CUC, etc.
As for water, CUC has two classes: commercial and residential. However, both users pay the same rate for the same level of usage. There is also no government rate for water usage.
“Given that there has been no legal creation of a government classification for water and wastewater, or sewer services, CHCC requests that all prospective bills and its arrears be calculated using the commercial rate for water and the non-residential rate for wastewater,” said CHCC.
Last Jan. 15, CUC chair Miranda Mangloña stated that they will meet with CHCC at a later time to decide what will be “a favorable solution” for both agencies.