All power customers of the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. on Saipan rely on only one power plant but agency officials assured that the plant can meet and even exceed all the electricity needs of its thousands of customers.
CUC acting executive director Alan Fletcher told Saipan Tribune yesterday that Power Plant 1 in Lower Base is capable of meeting the power demands of Saipan.
As of Wednesday, CUC had about 60 megawatts of available capacity. In contrast, daily peak demand for power averages at 30MW. The highest was noted on June 6, 2012, at 35.30MW. That means CUC has twice the available capacity than current system demands, Fletcher said.
CUC said the number of its active customers continue to decline, resulting in less power needs and demand.
Based on the power generation status report for Sept. 19, Power Plant 1 is producing 41MW from five diesel engines. Engines 1 and 3 are producing 5.5MW each, while Engines 6,7, and 8 produce 10MW each. Two more engines are non-operational: Engine 2 has been down since July 17 because of crankpin bearing seizure while Engine 5 is undergoing maintenance and awaiting parts. Power plant 1 is designed to produce 71.70MW.
Power Plant 2, which is capable of producing 6MW, is on standby. This power plant has four engines, with three units producing 2MW each. One is down since February 2011 due to a defective generator. Power plant 2 is designed to produce 10MW.
Like Power Plant 2, Power Plant 4 is also on standby. It has an available generation of 12.90MW. It was originally designed to produce 14.26MW. All seven engines are operational.
Power plant 4 was recently re-acquired by CUC in July from independent power producer Pacific Marine Industrial Corp. to the tune of $7.26 million. The contract buyout is projected to help CUC save on costs that will ultimately help bring the power rate down for customers.
CUC's Power Plant 3 has been closed for several years now. This facility, according to CUC officials, was primarily used for wells.
On Rota, CUC also has one power plant while an independent power producer-Telesource-supplies the power needs of Tinian customers.