Nine companies vying to build the 80-megawatt power plant on Saipan have until Friday next week to submit their “best and final offers” for the next phase of reevaluation being conducted by an independent engineering firm.
“(T)he Saipan power plant project is back on track with the new request for best and final offers having been issued on May 21 with responses due on June 18,” said Juan S. Dela Cruz, chairman of the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation, at their board meeting yesterday.
CUC officials expect to receive a report from independent evaluator Burns & McDonnell by the end of this month or early July which will be the basis of the final decision of the government-owned utility firm on the possible contractor of the project.
According to CUC Executive Director Timothy P. Villagomez, the review process will take about two weeks and a recommendation will be presented to the board once it is completed.
He said the Kansas City-based firm is “very consistent” in its schedule and it is likely that a final choice will be made by next month, more than a year since CUC announced its selection of Marubeni-Sithe.
There is no information, however, whether all nine companies — out of 13 that offered proposals — will submit or have submitted their final bids. “It’s being handled by Burns and McDonnell and nothing comes through our office. It’s handed to them,” Villagomez pointed out.
No detail of the bid package was released either, but the independent evaluator previously has said it would include technical requirements, pricing forms as well as the power purchase agreement that will flesh out the build-operate-transfer scheme of the $120 million project.
The nine companies that were elevated into the next phase of reevaluation have expressed interest to submit their final bids.
At least two firms had opposed CUC’s controversial deal with Japan’s Marubeni Corp. and its US partner, Sithe Energies, Inc. to undertake what has been touted the largest project ever in the Northern Marianas.
But the consortium of Alsons, Tomen, Singapore Power and Tan Holding Corp. last week withdrew all its protests, leaving Enron as the only company with pending dispute against CUC.
“The Board can now focus its time and energies on review of the results of the independent evaluation of final offers expected in a few weeks,” said Villagomez.
CUC is under pressure from the government to expedite resolution of dispute to push the 80-megawatt power plant that has stalled for nearly a year.
To be operated by an independent power producer for the next 25 years, the project is designed to meet power shortages on Saipan by the end of this decade.