Marianas Variety

Last updateSat, 07 Dec 2019 12am







    Saturday, December 7, 2019-1:07:30A.M.






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CUC board authorizes emergency procurement

THE Commonwealth Utilities Corp. board on Thursday authorized an emergency procurement to address the major overhaul of Power Plant 1 engines, and solicit temporary power supply.

The board, presided by chair Miranda Manglona, also authorized CUC management to “release” $6 million from the $12 million restricted reserve account set aside for the purchase of a new engine 8 for Power Plant 1.

The $6 million will fund the overhaul of engine 6, which will cost $300,000; the repair of engine 5, which will cost $200,000; the major overhaul of engine 5, which will cost $2 million; the major overhaul of engine 7, which will also cost $2 million; and the solicitation for temporary power supply, which will cost $1.296 million.

The board said if there are any leftover funds, they will be set aside for the replacement of engine 8.

Manglona told Variety that the board approved the management request for emergency procurement because “this is for the welfare of our community.”

The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. board chaired by Miranda Manglona met on Thursday to address the critical condition of Power Plant 1.  Photo by Junhan B. TodiñoThe Commonwealth Utilities Corp. board chaired by Miranda Manglona met on Thursday to address the critical condition of Power Plant 1. Photo by Junhan B. Todiño

CUC Executive Director Gary Camacho noted that the power system also affects water and wastewater services.

“Protecting water quality as well as the health and the quality of life of the people is a top concern for CUC,” he said.

Reliable power is needed for well pumping, chlorination and distribution, and effluent collection and treatment for the protection of coastal water, Camacho added.

He said the authorization for emergency procurement will also address concerns regarding delayed maintenance due to a funding shortfall since Typhoon Yutu and the failure of “several large customers” to pay their utility bills.

Government accounts are among the largest delinquent customers of the public utility.

Camacho said CUC will still procure a replacement generating unit for engine 8 to meet long-term demand for power.

Tapping the restricted funds of CUC for the emergency will leave $6 million for the purchase of a new engine 8, he added.

He said the restricted account will be replenished once CUC receives payments from its large customers.

“We will also consider working with the winning [engine 8] vendor for a possible payment plan,” Camacho added.

To address the “present tight reserve condition” — 1 megawatt — and to avoid load shedding with hotels/resorts that will only reduce CUC and CNMI revenue, he said CUC is seeking a temporary contract with a third-party backup generating supplier for up to 12 MWs.

“This will eliminate the need to call and coordinate with the hotel/resorts and large commercial customers that assist CUC with handling its peak load condition by taking turns in providing load shedding assistance,” Camacho said.

He reiterated that the operating engines at the power plant are “behind on scheduled preventive maintenance repair due to several major customers not paying their bills.”

He said engine 5 will be repaired by Lock-N-Stitch Inc. while the overhaul of engines 5, 6, and 7 will be performed by Mann BMW.

Over the next three months, Camacho said the repairs will “bring three major engines back to a much more resilient condition.”

The other CUC board members who attended the meeting on Thursday were Weston Thomas A. Deleon Guerrero, Matthew Holley, and Jovita Paulino.