CUC board cancels RFP for IRP power supply sources


The board of directors of the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. has decided to cancel the request for proposals CUC had issued last year regarding power supply sources for its Integrated Resource Plan that has been in the works since 2014

RFP 15-002 was issued for advertisement on November 2014 to solicit “competitive sealed proposals from qualified and experienced entities to supply reliable, affordable energy from commercially proven electric generation resources for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.”

The solicitation sought “responses from suitably qualified entities from which CUC intends to select one, or more, proponent(s) to negotiate long-term power supply contracts that best fit CUC’s power supply requirements. CUC’s requirements for new power supply resources will be determined as part of its Integrated Resource Plan, which is currently underway.”

CUC has been developing the IRP with their consultant—Leidos Engineering LLC whom they paid $495,000 for its services—to choose feasible, cost-effective, and reliable resources for their power generation.

In May 2015, Leidos reported to the board that they received nine “well-developed” proposals in February 2015, of which five turned out to qualified.

During their March board meeting, the majority of the CUC board opted to delay its decision on the IRP despite bidders waiting on a decision.

Only director David Sablan supported in approving one of the case scenarios presented by Leidos which will include 10-megawatts of photovoltaic power and pursuing light fuel oil diesel engines that can be converted to liquefied natural gas.

Sablan argued then that there were bidders that were waiting on their decision based on the RFP that they issued, however, the board majority sided with vice chair Eric San Nicolas to “invite Mobil back to the negotiation table to potentially re-negotiate a potential change order on the $371-million contract that was signed in March 2014.”

Sablan told the board that the move was “completely irresponsible” raising the question on what they will be doing to the bidders who participated in the RFP.

Now that the RFP is cancelled, CUC legal counsel James Sirok when asked what will happen to those who submitted their proposals, Sirok said “everything is cancelled.”

“Well when the RFP is cancelled, everything is cancelled,” Sirok said.

He declined to disclose the reason for the cancellation.

“It was cancelled,” Sirok said, “The reason, I am not at liberty to tell you that right now.”

Asked if this means that the IRP was cancelled as well, Sirok said “no.”

“No, just the RFP 15-002 is cancelled,” Sirok said, reiterating the cancellation when asked further if they will be issuing new RFP to continue with the IRP.

According to CUC acting executive director Gary Camacho, they are focusing on their short term plans right now which is to utilize existing power generation and get them to be in optimum condition while they consider their long term plan of expanding and having new forms of power generation.

“From my understanding on the cancellation is that we’re not going to move forward with it. We’re not going to move forward with the project at this time, that’s why it was cancelled,” Camacho said.

Camacho said they will still use the information presented to them by Leidos.

“The information with the IRP, we will utilize to review and determine our needs moving forward,” Camacho said adding that Leidos’ report has been completed recently and will be provided to the public after the board finished reviewing it.

Frauleine S. Villanueva-Dizon | Reporter
Frauleine Michelle S. Villanueva was a broadcast news producer in the Philippines before moving to the CNMI to pursue becoming a print journalist. She is interested in weather and environmental reporting but is an all-around writer. She graduated cum laude from the University of Santo Tomas with a degree in Journalism and was a sportswriter in the student publication.

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