13 Nov 2007

Power rates in CNMI an all time high following Governor's move

8:27 am on 13 November 2007

The governor of CNMI has signed an emergency declaration allowing the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation to charge the highest power rates in the country's history.

Benigno Fitial move comes less than a month after the Legislature enacted a law to reduce the power rates of residential customers.

Lawmakers overrode the governor's veto, and passed a bill to reduce the residential rate from 22.8 to 17.6 cents for the first 1,000 kilowatt hours.

However, on Friday, the governor released emergency regulations authorising the territory's utility corporation to charge 25.8 cents.

The 25.8 cents applies to the first 1,000 kwh - over 1,000 kwh will be billed at 30.2 cents per kwh.

The governor said the emergency regulations were necessary to ensure that the islands continue to have water, sewer and electrical services.

He says the Legislature's move to reduce the residential electric rates endangers not only CUC but the safety of all residents who use public health facilities.