CHCC now owes CUC $27.7M

CHCC’s monthly utilities billing is $400K, but can pay only $71K a month

The Commonwealth Health Care Corp.’s monthly utility bill totals $400,000, but it can only afford to pay the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. just $71,000 a month, resulting in a debt that has now ballooned to $27.7 million.

At a CUC board meeting last week, CUC executive director Gary P. Camacho disclosed that, according to CHCC, it can only afford to pay CUC $71,000 a month at this time because of other obligations they must meet.

Yet even that is apparently a problem. Camacho said it is his understanding that CHCC has not made payment, “not even the $71,000.”

“It’s challenging and the discussion was made. It is imperative that we recover our costs,” he said.

Citing internal CHCC computations, Camacho said that CHCC’s $71,000 is “all they have left in the pot.”

“But their usage is easily over $400,000 a month,” he added.

He said CUC is diligent about disconnecting residential and commercial customers and that CUC has worked out different arrangements with other agencies that also have outstanding debts.

He underscored the need to be creative to work something out to collect the receivables but CHCC “can only be creative up to $71,000.”

“So again, everybody is going to have to pay that bill at some point. Believe me it’s [going to] be an issue in our audit. It’s [going to] be an issue with the [House Public Utilities and Communications Committee],” Camacho said.

CUC board treasurer Matthew Holley said CHCC is supposed to be making payments of $400,000 a month and is the one who came up with the $71,000 per-month payment plan.

Last March, CUC reported that CHCC owes the utilities agency $27,412,615, with its past due going back four years.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

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