Marianas Variety

Last updateSat, 07 Dec 2019 12am

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    Saturday, December 7, 2019-6:04:05P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Engine failure at Power Plant 1; CUC may ask IPI to generate own power

COMMONWEALTH Utilities Corp. Executive Director Gary Camacho on Monday said Power Plant 1 suffered an engine failure on Saturday night, causing power interruption in some areas on island.

“Its condition is such that the engine [#5] cannot be restarted without a major repair effort,” he added.

Gary Camacho

He said CUC “will be contacting the hotel [Imperial Pacific International] to notify them that they may need to ‘self-generate’ in the meantime while every effort is being made to bring in the necessary professional staff to repair the problem.”

Other hotels are generating their own power.

A source told Variety that the conditions of the engines at the power plant are “getting worse” due to lack of maintenance.

But Camacho said the engines are “generally maintained on a regular schedule” although this “has been delayed due to cash flow issues with several large customers.”

CNMI government accounts are among the delinquent customers of the public utility.

Camacho said “every effort is being made to satisfy the repair schedule if funds are available so we can prevent a major problem from occurring.”

The source said the problems at the power plant have been compounded by the departure of 18 CW-1 permit holders, resulting in 16-hour work shifts for the remaining personnel.

Camacho, for his part, said staffing at the power plant is supported with overtime when needed to address and resolve a problem.

As for the replacement of engine 8, he said it has been canceled because the winning bidder cannot accept a certain condition in the proposed contract. Camacho did not elaborate.

He said engineers will be arriving Wednesday, Nov. 20, to work with the CUC team of mechanics to repair engine 6.

Camacho said CUC intends to get its remaining engines into “optimal condition.”

“In the meantime, we will work with the hotels [and ask them to] share the peak load times when necessary. We realize the importance of a consistent preventive maintenance schedule but…large outstanding receivables need to be paid [also] so that the maintenance and the purchase of needed materials can be met. This is for all three utility services: power, water, and sewer,” Camacho said.