8 May 2007

Northern Mariana Islands government unable to pay power bill

10:27 am on 8 May 2007

The Northern Mariana Islands government is unable to pay its power bill but is unlikely to have its power cut.

The Commonwealth Utilities Corp cannot disconnect utility services because of a temporary restraining order imposed by the court in 2004.

The Marianas Variety newspaper reports that the government has been questioning its water and sewer bills which had accumulated to US$34 million as of 2004.

Commonwealth Utilities Corp Executive Director Anthony Guerrero says the government's current arrears are now estimated at US$1.5 million, down from US$18.5 million two years ago.

He says negotiations with the government on a final payment are continuing.

Mr Guerrero says the temporary restraining order also deals with the government's disputed billings on water and wastewater.

The Commonwealth Utilities Corp wants the temporary restraining order to be lifted so that the agencies can be treated the same as residential or commercial customers if they fail to pay what is


Under the fiscal year 2007 budget, only US$7.3 million is budgeted for government agency utilities.