CHCC utility bill balloons to $32.93M

CUC suggests 2 alternatives for CHCC to reduce $400K monthly obligations

Commonwealth Utilities Corp. board chair Miranda V. Manglona presides over a board meeting last Thursday, in which one of the issues discussed was the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.’s debt to CUC that has now ballooned to $32.93 million. (FERDIE DE LA TORRE)

The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.’s long outstanding balance with the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. has now ballooned to $32.93 million and CUC is suggesting two ways that CHCC could do to reduce its $400,000 monthly billing.

CHCC’s continued failure to settle its outstanding obligation is affecting CUC’s ability to efficiently and effectively provide power, water, and wastewater services to the community, according to CUC executive director Gary P. Camacho in his report to CUC board members during last Thursday’s board meeting.

Last April, CUC disclosed that CHCC’s debt to the utilities agency has already reached $27.7 million. To assist CHCC in reducing its cost, Camacho said he suggested two approaches for CHCC to consider in order to save water and thereby reduce CHCC’s monthly financial obligation to CUC.

Camacho discussed those alternatives in an executive session, which is closed to the media and the public.

However, in a letter last Dec. 20 addressed to CHCC chief executive director Esther Muña, Camacho suggested that one way for CHCC to cut its water costs is to build a water containment system that would catch rainfall that could be reused for grey water applications.

Camacho said CHCC has an extensive roof system that could be modified to capture rainfall runoff for use in hospital facilities.

He said access to the hospital’s reverse osmosis system, with some chlorination added at the beginning in the catchment tank to assure water quality standards, may provide some measure of relief from water supply costs charged by CUC.

He said the materials would be a one-time capital expense that could be recovered over any number of years.

Camacho said that grey water applications have been used extensively around the world as an alternative for reducing the demand on fresh water sources and also as a way to reduce the overall water supply requirement to the service area being served.

He said the source of grey water is laundry water, showers, and sinks where the water is filtered to remove solids and then sent back to provide flushing for toilets, irrigation for lawns, and exterior washing of driveways, windows, and patios.

Camacho said catchment installation has a price, but would provide savings over the long-term.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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