Aggreko to supply power for $1.5M

Temporary power supply while CUC fixes power engines

The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. completed last Thursday the signing of a $1.5-million 90-day contract for a temporary electric power supply with Aggreko while CUC’s generator engines are down for overhaul and repair.

CUC put out a competitive advertisement for the emergency power supply and a CUC committee—which included a lawyer from the Office of the Attorney General—selected Aggreko as the winning bidder for the project, according to CUC executive director Gary P. Camacho yesterday

He said the contract had been routed and signed and CUC’s technical staff are now working with Aggreko to prepare for the power equipment to arrive. Those power generators will be positioned adjacent to CUC’s Power Plant 1 in Lower Base in order to connect them to CUC’s fuel supply.

Camacho said the contract is for $1,516,320. He said the people they have been dealing with are Aggreko representatives from Singapore.

He said the temporary generators are supposed to generate 12 megawatts to meet the island’s power demand, but Aggreko will be bringing in equipment to generate approximately 15 megawatts so that there will be a power reserve on standby.

Under the contract, Aggreko is expected to start producing power by Jan. 15, 2019.

“It’s just to get us by while we overhaul [our] engines,” he said. “We want to make sure that we try not to impact our community…in trying to have that reserve capacity when we shut down our engines.”

He said the overhaul on CUC’s engines are different this time due to the impacts of Super Typhoon Yutu that hit Saipan and Tinian in October 2018. That has resulted in limited revenue for CUC, especially in the first quarter and even in the second quarter of the year.

Camacho said they have received some funding that allows them to sustain their operation throughout the remainder of the current fiscal year. However, it’s been extremely challenging due to the lack of payment from some of the large outstanding accounts, he said. He said this lack of payments from large accounts has impacted CUC’s ability to perform overhauls.

Camacho said they had to work closely with the CUC board in releasing some of the amount in a restricted account that was earmarked to buy a new engine to replace Engine No. 8.

“We have to deal with the existing engines today and ensure that they’re overhauled and prepared to continue until such time [when] we acquire new engines,” he said.

Camacho said the ongoing repair of Engine No. 6 is expected to be finished next week.

“However, with (Engine No. 6) coming online, we have still No. 5 down,” said Camacho, adding that they have been bidding out engine overhaul for No. 5.

He said No. 5 will go down first and then No. 7. “Hopefully, we can come out sometime over the course of the next five, six months with the engine overhauls,” he said.

Camacho said they will then try to do the internal overhaul on the smaller engines. “These large engines—the 11 megawatt units—are very difficult to take offline without greatly impacting our reserve capacity,” he said.

Last month, CUC board authorized the release of $6 million from CUC’s $12 million that is in a restricted account for the emergency repair and overhaul of power engines at Power Plant 1 and to pay for a temporary electric power supply that will be used while the engines are down for repair and overhaul.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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