‘CUC restricted account only has over $2M left’


With the use of $2.3 million for its deferment program to provide temporary financial relief for utility customers in these difficult times, the Commonwealth Utilities Corp.’ restricted account is now down to just over $2 million—a steep drop from the original $12 million.


Even that $2 million is potentially to be earmarked for emergency power supplier Aggreko and more materials for CUC’s power plant, said CUC executive director Gary P. Camacho in a recent interview

He pointed out that CUC has some emergency repairs on Middle Road that need to be completed.

He said they also used over $6 million from the restricted account for an emergency at the power plant. “We were very fortunate to be able to have that money at that time,” said Camacho. This, he said, underscored the importance of CUC having some sort of reserve funding to be able to address emergencies as a lot of their equipment are old and aging.

Camacho said they’re trying to pursue new facilities and upgrades and that the Office of the Governor has been supportive with the projects to have a lot of concrete poles and underground system lines and concrete tanks and a variety of different things.

“Our system is hardened, but there’s so much more to do. And the other islands also need a lot of the hardening,” he said, referring to Tinian and Rota.

Last month, the CUC board of directors approved the management’s request to allow it to tap $2.3 million in a restricted account to provide temporary financial relief for CUC residential customers. CUC will use the $2.3 million to maintain operations during the deferral period of six months. The CUC board also approved a temporary waiver for penalties, late fees, and disconnection period within the deferral period.

CUC’s plan is that the $2.3 million will later be returned to the restricted account. The original $12 million was intended to buy a power engine to replace engine No. 8 at power plant in Lower Base.

Last November, the board approved the release of $6 million from the restricted account. Part of the amount, $1.5 million, was to be used to pay the 90-day contract with Aggreko for temporary power while CUC’s generator engines are being overhauled and repaired. Some $300,000 was to be used to repair engine No. 6; $2 million for overhaul of power engine no. 5; and $2 million for the overhaul of power engine no. 7.

CUC’s original plan was to replenish that $6 million once the Federal Emergency Management Agency reimburses CUC, and that any funds used from that restricted account will be returned.

Last January, the CUC board also approved a 90-day extension worth $1.3 million more to the original 90-day contract with Aggreko. The original contract was worth $1.5 million.

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 ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com
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