Friday, November 30, 2007


This is not going to address the expensive costs of producing power, there is an answer to that by operating CUC differently, that is another subject.
The problems we want to address here and now is paying for power regardless of the rates and costs of producing it.
First- There needs to be an across the board cost for a Kwh of power. The same for everyone! This needs to be determined and fixed so that all users pay the same per Kwh. No different costs for residential, business, government, over or under a certain amounts but with all Kwh's costing the same. A fixed flat rate. Period...
Second, and the most important- PAY IN ADVANCE!
Pay for what you want to use each month, or several months if that's what you prefer, in advance, buy it like you would gas for your car. This would eliminate the need for deposits, disconnection/reconnection fees, late payment fees, problems collecting bills, terms of payments and all complications with billings/payments.
With this arrangement you go buy XXX amount of Kwh's for your house or business and then use it as you would driving your car. If the gas is low in your car you buy more or you don't drive the car. If your Kwh's are running out, buy more. You don't drive your car then pay later for the gas do you? You don't ask for a year to pay for the gas do you? Power should be sold the same way, and just as every one pays the same per gallon (liter) of gas all rates will be the same per Kwh for all consumers.
This would not only take huge bookkeeping and accounting costs, disconnection and reconnection costs, reading meters, billing and collecting costs off of CUC, the first step in lowering the rates, cutting costs, but would enable them to have the cash on hand when the supplier arrived with a delivery of fuel, keeping the financial accounting on the level and avoiding power outages. Everything else you use on a daily basis or buy from a supplier or producer you pay for before you consume it, why not power too? This plan would NOT cost you a dime more but would enable CUC to lower your rates considerably.
Can you imagine how much CUC could lower the power rates if everyone including the government, paid all their bills in advance and there was no outstanding payments owed? Ask CUC about this and I'll bet you they would they would jump for joy!
The only deferral from this method may be to people or businesses with preferred credit ratings and assets to back up the charges accrued. This is now getting into the small detail section and not the overall proposal.
There don't seem to be any suggestions or plans for lowering the rates (demanding legislation to do so is NOT the answer) but we can implement a equal payment plan so all can use what they can afford. This way there are no rude disconnections and hard feelings, buy what you use, when it is about to run out buy more or expect the old AC to be off for awhile until you do so.
What is your plan? I'd be glad to hear it or your amendments to this one. Comment below.. You MUST read these comments too!


Anonymous said...

China has a system where you pre-pay for power (also water and gas)that is loaded onto what looks like a credit card (may be debit card is a better word). The power card is inserted into your house meter to charge the system. It's non-discrimatory and puts everyone on the same level of responsibility (key word - not commonly used or practiced in the CNMI). You can check the meter any time to see how much power you have remaining. This idea has been mentioned in the past by several persons in various Letters to the Editor and has appeared to fall on deaf ears by our local legislature and CUC.

Unfortunately, the down side to this simple and fair approach is that CUC would have to find other jobs for all their meter readers and probably half of their accounting and some secretarial staff. God forbid! The other down side is that CUC would save tons of $$ by not having to purchase gas for all the meter readers driving all over the island -- all day, every day. And finally, there would be a substanital long term cost savings in not having to maintain (or purchase) all those SUV's that the meter readers (ab)use. And that's probably just the tip of the iceberg. As a note - I can't help but stiffle a laugh when I hear comments from those who like to bash Chinese culture and claim that China is such a backwards nation.

I truely beleive that the CNMI Government (all levels) is purposely letting the CUC self destruct. I haven't figured why, but it will likely have something to do with asking Uncle Sam for $$.

I have lived in the CNMI for more than 15 years and have held my thoughts to myself, I am finally starting to get really pissed off.

Anonymous for a reason

glend558 said...

Well said Anon. We all need to get pissed off and demand some changes especially ones that will work!
Keep reading and writing, there are quiet a few people out there that read this blog....

bigsoxfan said...

Pre-pay sounds great for cutting down on overhead. Those who would spend their utility payment in the poker palaces would be out in the cold or humidity, which is fine. I'm a little worried about those you don't have the money coming in and need the service, though. The old liberal coming out, I suppose.

I don't have as high an opinion of the chinese value system as expressed by the anon, and would seriously question, whether such a system could work in a country which places any sort of value on the well being of the individual. Look at the kicking and screaming about paying for what is being used so far. Still, cutting down on the overhead, would be a great start. Too bad, the meter readers, who actually preform actual work will go before the blood sucking slugs in the offices.

lil_hammerhead said...

I'd be very worried about the "pay in advance" scheme here. You'll end up laying out your $600.00 for your next months power/fuel and end up with no power anyways. They'll come up with some type of excuse as to why they couldn't make the fuel payment (generator maintenance, generators conked out, fuel price fluxuations, etc.) You'll end up short $600.00 and no power to boot.

glend558 said...

BSF, Those spending their money in the poker room and not paying their bills is exactly the reason the ones who are paying their bills are paying so much, we subdizise the non payer (government included, etc.)

Lil, if the payment is paid and the power is not on your Kwh's are still good they aren't used on a time basis but a comsumption basis. Therefore they won't go away if they're not being used. It's like (back to the car again) if you don't drive your car for a couple of days the gas is still in the tank. Also combined with the private operator plan (as you suggested) that might not be a problem anymore, hopefully...
Something must be done.

lil_hammerhead said...

I understand.. but I'd be mighty pissed if we put out $600 as an advanced payment for fuel.. and ended up with no power. When the generators conk out permanently.. we'll never see that $600 :)

Actually, I'm just being a little to realistic. I'd have no problem with payment in advance with a bit better management of CUC.