10 Dec 2007

CNMI power company blames crisis on new law

2:33 pm on 10 December 2007

The power supplier in the Northern Marianas, the Utilities Corporation, says new legislation is causing the current power crisis.

Last week, the Utlities Corporation could not pay for its fuel shipment from Singapore and the government declared a state of emergency, and paid 2.5 million US dollars to pay for the bill.

Its spokesperson, Pamela Mathis, says rising fuel costs and new laws are to blame for the problem.

"Our fuel price from Singapore per barrel hit 110 dollars. In November, the legislature adopted a law that kept these [fuel] prices much lower than the actual cost of fuel. That meant that the Utility ended up with no way to pay for the shipment of fuel coming in from Singapore last week."

Pamela Mathis says such a crisis will happen again if the government does not change its law.

Ms Mathis says fuel stocks will last for 22 days.