22 Jul 2008

CNMI Govenor OKs US$3.4M bailout

10:28 am on 22 July 2008

Govenor Benigno R. Fitial has signed a bill into law to fund the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation's temporary power deal and pay the agency's debts to two contractors.

Under the bill approved yesterday, CUC will get a total of US$3.4 million of the Marianas Public Land Trust's income for the next two fiscal years.

CUC will use US$1.5 million as down payment for Aggreko International, which CUC hired to bring in rental generators to Saipan.

The balance will go to pay CUC's debts, with $1.1 million going to Pacific Marine Industrial Corp. and $800,000 to Telesource CNMI.

PMIC runs Power Plant 4, which produces almost half of Saipan's current power generation capacity. Telesource operates the power plant on Tinian.

Govenor Fitial says the new law provides much needed financial relief for the CUC and puts the agency in a much better position to offer more reliable public utility services.

The new law also requires CUC to return the money by paying rebates to residential consumers starting January 2009, at the latest.