CUC eliminates long queues at payment center


Commonwealth Utilities Corp. customers form a long queue at the payment center in Dandan last Wednesday after CUC implemented social distancing and limited its hours due to coronavirus pandemic. (Ferdie De La Torre)

The Commonwealth Utilities Corp.’s social distancing rule at its payment center in Dandan and limited hours of operation caused a long queue of customers last week. But that line is no longer there this week after CUC announced late last week that it will allow its customers to pay one month’s bill in three to six months.

“It’s hot as there’s no shade outside the building. But the flow is smooth,” a customer said last Wednesday.

CUC customers have been lining up under a tent that CUC put up outside the payment center and, when asked about it, CUC executive director Gary P. Camacho explained that they’re practicing spacing or social distancing at the payment and customer service center and have closed the door to limit the number of people inside.

Camacho said they’re only allowing up to 10 customers at a time and are requiring them to sanitize their hands with sanitizers before entering inside.

He said there’s spacers or tapes on the floor to guide customers before they go to the cashier or to the customer service counters.

“We need to protect our employees. But, by the same token, we also want to protect our consumers,” he said, adding that they want to make sure that interactions are safe for both parties so they don’t leave contaminated or the employees don’t become contaminated.

Camacho said it’s what’s required as recommended by the governor and Commonwealth Health Care Corp. several times and they’re just trying to make sure that they enforce it.

“We practice good action here at CUC for everybody,” he said.

To avoid being trapped in a long line, Camacho said they are open from 8am to 1pm on weekdays so people don’t need to be here first thing in the morning.

Camacho also encourages customers to do online payments, credit card payments on the phone, and also use the prepaid meters, the Nighthawks. “I still have good inventory of Nighthawk meters; they’re web-based. You can pay, establish an account, CUC can do that and you could be able to pay your load through the internet as long as you have WiFi,” he said.

Online payments, Camacho said, would eliminate and reduce the amount of people in line and minimize that interaction.

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

Related Posts

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.