The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. has extended its original 90-day temporary power supply agreement with Aggreko to mid-2021.
According to executive director Gary P. Camacho, overhaul work on CUC’s two power engines are continuing, hence the need for Aggreko’s supplemental power. Aggreko’s engines provide CUC 12 megawatts of power.
“With large engines down like this, we need supplemental supply and Aggreko is in for that. The overhaul is continuing and when the overhauls are completed…they’ll [the generator engines] be turned back on and then we should not have a need for Aggreko,” said Camacho.
On average the CNMI needs 33 megawatts on average. The power need fluctuates, depending on the weather, but Camacho said that 33 megawatts is the average.
Camacho said the overhaul and repair CUC’s generator engines is estimated to end by the end of June or mid-July, or whenever the engine manufacturer, Man B&W Diesel Singapore, completes the overhaul and repair.
“We determined how long the extension is going to be…because we didn’t want to commit to a long-term commitment in the event that we didn’t need it for that period of time,” he said.
There were also complications due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and one of them was that CUC had to defer projects due to funding problems, but now CUC was able to pick up some of the projects. Also, it has been hard to get parts shipped from Singapore and Germany due to the pandemic, he added.
“They [engine parts] have to be manufactured and that’s taking time. Along with the pandemic, it’s causing an issue in shipping. …These parts are coming from Singapore and Germany. It’s having a huge impact on the supplier’s ability to provide the needed parts in a timely manner so again we’re stuck with the situation now,” said Camacho.
Even with these unforeseen issues, Camacho assures that CUC’s Power Generation Division is working diligently with the generator’s overhaul.
CUC first extended its contract with Aggreko in January 2020. That was for a 90-day extension to the original 90-day contract for Aggreko to provide temporary power while CUC’s generator engines are being overhauled and repaired.
Camacho earlier estimated that the additional 90 days may cost CUC about $1.3 million more to pay Aggreko. This is on top of the original $1.5 million that has already been approved for the project. He declined to cite a specific cost of the new contract extension.