Governor says central govt, CHCC can sustain monthly payments of utility bills
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres hopes his administration and the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. can attain its goal of having a new power plant and new power generator in the next few months.
Responding to a question about CUC during a radio news briefing last Friday, Torres said that having a new power plant and new generator will provide an efficient system that will eventually result in reduced electric rates to everyone in the CNMI.
Right now, he said the administration can absolutely sustain having the central government and the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. current with their payment of their utility bills since signing an agreement with CUC last year to resolve their longstanding unpaid billings.
CUC chief financial officer Greg Cruz told the CUC board at a special board meeting last week that both CHCC and the central government are living up to their obligation in the agreement.
Cruz said CUC has been receiving about $219,000 monthly, with $150,000 coming from the central government and $69,000 from the hospital.
At the press briefing, Torres said they are here to help CHCC and CUC. “We know how critical CUC is on this island. Without CUC, there will be no life, no economy, no education, no public health,” Torres said, adding that they are aware of that and that is definitely a priority.
He also assured that it is also a priority of his administration for CHCC and all other government entities to be up to date on their requests for payments.
He said they have been helping CUC in so many different aspects, whether to address the federal court’s stipulation order, to grants, and to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and that they prioritize assisting CUC with the funding under the Disaster Recovery program, other federal grants, and disaster relief.
He said they have talked to CUC executive director Gary P. Camacho and some members of the CUC board about their plans. “ I know that they want to get a new power plant, but at the same time making sure that our utility or power is sustained today.”