Another delay in generator project for Rota

From May 19, new completion target date is second week of June

The contractor of the 1.8-megawatt generator for Rota has failed to meet the extended May 19, 2019, deadline to install the machine after it allegedly encountered some issues in delivering the unit to Rota.

The engine was originally set to arrive on Rota in the second week of May 2019 but, because of one issue after another, the shipment will arrive in Guam tomorrow, May 28, and will then arrive on Rota in the first week of June.

The entire project is worth $690,000.

In his report to the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. board at their meeting last Friday, CUC contracting specialist John Mafnas said the contractor’s shipment of the generator from the U.S. mainland got bumped off due to an oversized military cargo.

Mafnas said the contractor’s shipment was, instead, scheduled for the third week of April, causing the delay.

“But it is on its way,” he said.

He said he spoke with the contractor last Thursday, who informed him that they are expecting to commission the unit by the second week of June.

He said the contractor was supposed to deliver and install the unit last May 19, which was the extension that it had previously asked for, which CUC had granted.

Since the project is already beyond the deadline, what can CUC do? asked acting CUC board chair Weston Deleon Guerrero.

Mafnas said that, under the contract, the contractor can be fined $3,500 per day in liquidated damages for any unreasonable delay.

When asked if CUC had already reminded the contractor about the liquidated damages, Mafnas said they have sought the advice of the Office of the Attorney General before sending such a letter to the contractor.

Mafnas said the contractor has already said that they should be excused since the delay is beyond their control.

He said the contractor is already sending its crew to Rota to do the electrical and panel works.

In a separate interview, Deleon Guerrero said he has some questions for the CUC management about the matter, including obtaining proof for the reason behind the delay and “if it is really outside of their control.”

Deleon Guerrero said if the delay is on the contractor’s part, he believes that CUC could go after the contractor for liquidated damages for delaying the project.

Deleon Guerrero said the generator set was supposed to be commissioned last May 19, including the extension period granted by CUC.

He said there was an issue about the foundation, on where to install the generator, so CUC granted a 24-day extension.

Last April, Mafnas said that, with the 24-day delay, it will take the contractor 60 days to complete the whole project.

The CUC board of directors had already re-affirmed the electric power emergency declaration on Rota and approved the selection of the International Bridge and Construction Marianas Inc. to procure, deliver, and install the generator.

The original arrival date of the engine set on Rota was the second week of May 2019.

Last Jan. 25, CUC’s board of directors approved the emergency and procurement method.

CUC executive director Gary P. Camacho then asked the board to reaffirm the emergency declaration and approve the selection of IBCM to supply the generator. The CUC board approved Camacho’s request.

Rep. Edwin K. Propst (Ind-Saipan) earlier questioned why CUC’s selection committee changed its decision to choose IBCM.

Propst said IBCM was connected to a similar deal with CUC that raised a lot of red flags about two years ago.

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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