The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. board may have already resigned, but the corporation still needs to procure a new engine, according to CUC executive director Gary Camacho.
In a letter dated May 17 to Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, Camacho said he plans to take the “appropriate and lawful steps provided under CUC’s procurement regulations to proceed with the procurement and installation of a replacement engine for Engine 8.”
Based on the letter, the project would include removing the old engine from Power Plant 1 and inspecting its mounting pad to determine the “suitability for the installation of the replacement engine.”
The former CUC board cancelled last April 19 the request for proposals and the request for quotations for the procurement of the engine.
Prior to cancellation, General Pacific Services Marianas Inc. won the contract to deliver and install the engine. That plan got scuttled after conflicts of interest later surfaced. The connections to the CUC board launched oversight hearings by both the House and Senate Public Utilities and Transportation Committees. Along with an unfavorable audit on CUC by the CNMI Office of the Public Auditor, Torres asked the CUC board last Friday to submit their courtesy resignations.
Though it was debated during the oversight hearings whether the procurement of the engine was an emergency or not, Camacho, in his letter, clarified that “there exists an ongoing immediate and pressing need for this replacement engine due to the existence of an extremely low power reserve capacity on Saipan.”
It was specified in Camacho’s letter that CUC’s reserve capacity for Saipan was at less than 3 megawatts.
However, in a previous interview, Camacho told Saipan Tribune that since re-energizing of Engine 4 at Power Plant 1 last May 3, the reserve power capacity of Saipan has gone from 0.95 MW to 8.2 MW. According to Camacho, the peak power demand of Saipan is at 40.4 MW.
To reiterate the need of the engine, Camacho wrote, “CUC feels that the minimum reserve capacity for Saipan should be equal to 40 to 50 percent of the peak demand for power. Currently, Saipan’s peak power demand is [about] 41 MW.”