Finance Secretary Larrisa Larson announced yesterday that the CNMI government is now converting to prepaid meters to regulate power consumption and increase cost-savings.
Larson noted that the kickoff for utilization of prepaid meters began on March 1, adding that the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. has already conducted a presentation on the meters with designated agency representatives who will be monitoring and/or purchasing power for their respective departments and agencies, including the islands of Tinian and Rota.
“As soon as CUC announced that it would allow government departments to enroll in the pre-pay program, we began planning our conversion to the prepaid system. We know that this will further allow the government to regulate the usage of power and operate within their budget. Previously, the pre-pay program was only available to residential customers, and we are pleased that this program will also help eliminate billing disputes between the government and CUC,” Larson said.
In October of last year, the launch of the CUC pre-pay program was finally opened up to government agencies.
With the arrival of new prepaid meters, the CNMI government pushed to complete the conversion process.
“Finance has been working closely with CUC for this conversion and we’ve had ongoing discussions on resolving outstanding balances. This conversion will ensure greater accountability for our power usage as a whole,” said Gov. Ralph DLG Torres. “Our overall goal is to clear our balances and sustain our accounts. We have resolved outstanding balances that we’ve had over the years and we are pleased to move forward with this and look toward strengthening our accountability and increasing savings Commonwealth-wide.”
Over the course of three months, more than 400 meters have been installed in government departments and agencies and testing of these accounts are ongoing to ensure efficient implementation.
Last week, Finance made a significant payment to CUC and continues to reconcile accounts.
According to CUC, the Web-Based Electric Prepay Program allows customers to benefit from a specialized meter called the Nighthawk electric meter that permits a customer to go online, get access to the customer Web-portal called Pay-Go, and purchase or pay for power before utilization. (PR)