BEST SUNSHINE’S $10M GIFT
Fletcher: Credit will apply electronically to accounts; no cash value
What started out as a promise by Best Sunshine Int. Ltd. to give $10 million to assist Saipan residents with their utility bills is now in the hands of the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. for processing.
Best Sunshine, CUC, and the CNMI government have hammered out an agreement for the completion of the credit distribution by the end of this month, according to CUC executive director Alan Fletcher yesterday.
“CUC is in the process of implementing the procedure established by Best Sunshine and the CNMI government to distribute $10 million of utility credits to its residential accounts,” Fletcher said.
After nearly three weeks of discussion on how CUC will distribute the funds, CUC decided that the money, which has been deposited in an escrow account, will be credited to eligible CUC residential accounts only and will be through an electronic credit process.
“The crediting process is still under implementation and CUC requests that its residential account holders refrain from making calls requesting program details until the end of the month,” Fletcher said.
The exact amount of credit, which will be given to each eligible residential account, has not yet been calculated and CUC is still in the process of calculating that, Fletcher said.
“All vouchers will be in the form of electronic credit-vouchers to be applied directly to eligible accounts. No physical paper vouchers will be issued and CUC will undertake the distribution process of the credit-vouchers,” he said.
The credit-vouchers will go through the distribution process by crediting the total voucher amount to each of the eligible account’s utility billings for water, wastewater and electricity.
“Eligibility will be by account basis only and not directed to individual persons,” Fletcher said.
All active CUC residential accounts and inactive residential accounts with a service location and meter on residential property as of Oct. 10, 2014, will qualify.
Fletcher said the program has strict limitations. It is limited to one credit-voucher “per CUC account number and are not dependent on the number of people living at the service location.”
“The credit vouchers have no cash value, are not redeemable for cash or services or any other benefits, and are not transferable. Credit-voucher eligibility decisions are non-disputable under the billing dispute provisions of CUC’s regulations,” he said.
All unused voucher credits will expire on Oct. 31, 2015.
Fletcher said that residential account holders are asked to check their November billing (October utility use) for the credit amount applied to the utility bill.
This $10 million utility assistance was promised by Best Sunshine as part of its Community Benefit Fund. The company had vowed to release the funds 60 days after it was issued an exclusive license to build a casino resort on Saipan. The license was issued on Aug. 12.
Best Sunshine has also promised to provide $20 million, within 60 days after starting the construction of the casino, that will go to education, scholarships, infrastructure, health care, and employee retirement benefits.