CUC: CHCC on top of their payments

Posted on Jan 20 2021

The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. confirmed that the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. has kept up with its utility billings and hasn’t missed a payment so far, while the Torres-Palacios administration has paid its part in November.

In an interview with CUC chair Miranda Manglona, she stated that CUC chief financial officer Greg Cruz has confirmed that CHCC and the administration have been on track with their payments.

When asked how much CHCC now owes, Manglona stated that they don’t have the amount yet, but hopes to know how much is owed by the end of the year.

As for the change of rates, Manglona stated that both CUC and CHCC board are looking at more favorable solutions for both agencies.

Manglona told Saipan Tribune that CUC management participated in a joint meeting with the CHCC board and manager that focused on arrears and water rate.

“We’re trying to come up with a favorable solution to both agencies,” said Manglona. Additionally, there has been no definite solution to resolve CHCC’s arrears and water rate.

CHCC recently requested 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 said it has learned that only the electrical service has a government rate, which means that water and wastewater can be considered either residential or nonresidential.

“On Dec. 10, 2020, 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 utility 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 nonresidential,” said CHCC. Nonresidential customers have been determined to include barracks, hotels, restaurants with attached living quarters, etc.

CUC legal counsel Jose P. Mafnas Jr. has declined CHCC’s request to switch rates and insists that there is a government rate for water and wastewater—$54.30 per 1,000 gallons of water and $0.0300 per gallon of wastewater.

Justine Nauta | Correspondent
Justine Nauta is Saipan Tribune's community and health reporter and has covered a wide range of news beats, including the Northern Marianas College and Commonwealth Health Care Corp. She's currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation and Human Services at NMC.
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