Governor uses federal funds to pay his personal power and water bills

[Author’s note: I dedicate this article to the memory of Juanita and Ivan Propst, two Saipan residents who died this year and who loved the truth and hated corruption]

Despite public outcry of his exorbitant use of utilities at taxpayer expense, Gov. Ralph Torres continues to rack up thousands of dollars in power and water bills. He continues charging these bills to the Commonwealth government, according to documents released to Kandit following an Open Government Act request. In fact, at least four of the last five of the governor’s personal utilities bills were obligated from American Rescue Plan Act funds, which is a questionable use of those federal funds.

Kandit on July 1 requested the last four utilities bills for the governor’s residence. According to the responsive documents, the governor’s office provided the governor’s Commonwealth Utilities Commission billings dated January 28, February 28, March 28, and April 27, 2022.

Kandit also requested copies of documents evidencing payment of the governor’s residential utilities bills by the Commonwealth government. According to two purchase orders issued days apart in June, the Department of Finance obligated $6,067.67 in ARPA funds to pay for the governor’s December, January, February, and March power and water bills. In those four months, Mr. Torres consumed an average of $1,516.91 of utilities per month. This was before rates went up.

According to the CUC billings, Mr. Torres continues to use water at his residential complex at rates well above normal family consumption. In January, he used $877.56 in water and $665.79 in power for a total utilities bill of $1,543.35. The January billing also states the CUC allowed the governor to carry an outstanding balance of $25,682.35. According to the bill, Mr. Torres owed CUC $27,225.70 for January.

“The previous balance disconnect date is on 02/01/2022,” the bill states in the margin. “Please pay your previous balance immediately to avoid disconnection of your utility services.”

But unlike the common ratepayer whom CUC disconnects according to its threats, Mr. Torres’s power and water were not cut. In fact, he consumed even more power and water the next month: $1,665.80 in total for February. His balance increased to $29,148.32 that month, according to the CUC bill. The new demand for payment threatened disconnection if the previous balance was not paid by March 1, 2022.

No disconnection occurred, with the governor consuming $1,244.74 in March, and a new balance of $30,393.06 due April 2, 2022.

April 2, 2022 came and went without any disconnection. In fact, the governor’s consumption increased again; this time to $1,613.78 by April 27. His power bill in April peaked at $980.65; his water bill at $633.13.

His last documented utilities balance disclosed by the governor’s office was $32,298.32, which may have been offset by two June payments totaling $6,067.67, if DOF actually made the payments according to the two purchase orders for payment.

The governor’s utilities consumption in January, February, and March occurred during the period of his impeachment by the House and trial in the Senate for, among other charges, the corrupt use of residential utilities that he had the Commonwealth government pay. Among the charges were the allegations that a private piggery owned by his brother was using water on the governor’s residential compound that was being charged to and paid for by the Commonwealth government.

The governor’s attorneys explained to the legislature that the charges to the government were an oversight that was remedied by the governor, when the water meter for the piggery operation was separated from the governor’s house. Despite this claim, the CUC bills for the first four months of this year include water consumption comparable to months when the governor was having the government pay for the water use for the piggery.


  • This guy is walking on water. It seems like no one can stop his abuses. Well then, more power to him!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *