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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i


Customers Owe NMI Utilities Corporation Over $19 Million
Hospital, school system, central government owe most debt

By Moneth Deposa

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Jan. 2, 2013) – Commonwealth Utilities Corp. (CUC) chief financial officer Charles Warren disclosed that the cash-strapped utilities firm has about $19.4 million in outstanding receivables from its active customers-an amount that the said will negatively impact the utilities' operation if it remains uncollected.

As of November 2012, the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. has the highest debt of $5.3 million, representing consumption of the public hospital way before it was established as an autonomous agency in 2011.

Coming in with the second biggest collectible is the Public School System, whose unpaid obligation total $3.5 million as of November this year. The central government incurred the next biggest debt of $2 million.

Warren disclosed that for the government account, the receivable is expected to rise to $3.7 million once data from the December consumption is finalized. He estimates that the central government will incur a billing of approximately $1.7 million for December alone.

CUC records show that the agency, which is in state of emergency, also has $3.6 million in receivables from residential customers while commercial customers owe $3.3 million. The figures are as of November this year.

CUC is a nonprofit organization whose operation relies heavily on the payment of its power, water, and wastewater customers.

Since the utilities corporation is budgeted to have zero profit, Warren said that failure to collect for all services billed results in delayed payments to vendors and eventually a reduction in services and system maintenance.

CUC was again placed under a state of emergency in December due the continuing financial crisis at the agency.

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