CPA pays CUC $4.4M; CHCC-CUC reconciling accounts

The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. recently received a $4.4 million check from the Commonwealth Ports Authority as payment for utilities. This comes as CUC continues its talks with the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. about its utility costs.

CUC executive director Gary P. Camacho told Saipan Tribune that while they got CPA’s $4.4 million payment, there are other further discussions moving forward with CPA.

Camacho disclosed that there is a memorandum of agreement that they are going to address with CPA.

“But yes, it’s going well. Obviously, with a payment like that, it’s a continuing progress,” he said.

When asked how much CPA still owes CUC, Camacho said he can’t cite the exact number since he lacks updated information considering that there is an offset on the wharfage from CPA to CUC.

Wharfage refers to a charge assessed by a port or a shipping terminal when goods are transported through it.

With respect to CHCC’s outstanding billings, Camacho said he had a short discussion about this with a CHCC official last week at the Saipan Chamber of Commerce meeting.

He said CUC and CHCC will be getting the final documents as they reconcile their accounts and that they will then be addressing how to deal with them.

Last August, Camacho said autonomous agencies like CHCC have been slowly settling their accounts, making their payable current.

He said they also have a wonderful payment program with the Public School System and other autonomous agencies and with the central government.

CHCC executive director Esther Muna recently disclosed that CHCC spend about $300,000 a month on power consumption.

Muña believed that once the Photovoltaic System Parking Shade Structure or solar project at the Commonwealth Health Center parking lot is completed by next year, CHCC expects to save as much as $700,000 on their utility bills.

The CPA board of directors lately approved a supplemental budget of $2.4 million to cover the shortfall for their utility expenses incurred in the past several months at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport.

According to CPA’s supplemental budget request, from October 2017 to July 2018, the airport’s electrical, water and sewer total expenses reached $4.2 million, while the estimated August and September 2018 total billing is $842,419. The brings utility expenses for that period to $5.0 million.

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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