5 Jun 2008

CNMI's CUC fails to pay debts to company on Tinian

11:19 am on 5 June 2008

Saipan's primary electricity company, the Commonwealth Utilities Corp., has failed to pay its debts to a company on Tinian, causing some customers to lose service.

The Saipan Tribune reports this is causing some customers on the island to lose service and sparked an outcry from local lawmakers.

In a June 4 letter to CUC chief Antonio Muna, Telesource, which operates Tinian's power plant, claimed that CUC has not paid its monthly dues on a series of $180,000 promissory notes that funded the plant's construction, maintenance and day to day services.

CUC's failure to pay, according to the letter, threatens Telesource's ability to pay its own third-party loans and buy supplies for the plant such as lubrication oil.

Telesource is demanding payment within 15 days.

The company's acting general manager, Jeffery Barr, declined to comment on what steps it would take should CUC breach the contract further.

This comes as the CUC has been steadily raising the electricity rate to consumers.