13 Nov 2006

CNMI seeks to amend Public Utilities Commission law just weeks after creation

5:42 am on 13 November 2006

The Legislature of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is seeking to amend a law creating the Public Utilities Commission, a few weeks after enacting it.

Our correspondent in CNMI says the move is to lower qualifications for officials of the newly created regulatory body citing the lack of professionals that can meet its criteria.

Representative Ray Yumul, along with two other lawmakers, has introduced House Bill 15-191, which seeks to lessen requirements for appointees to the utilities commission.

The PUC law currently requires that each member of the five-member commission has management experience in utilities, engineering, power generation and at least one is a certified public accountant.

The newly introduced legislation would only require that the PUC members be of good moral character and demonstrate experience in business regulation, in a business regulated by the commission, or in accounting, law, or engineering.

A member of the governor's appointment committee earlier said that the current qualifications for PUC members were too high and unrealistic.