‘CUC is growing alongside economic growth’


The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. wants to move with the CNMI’s growing economy and sees no need to go beyond the demands of the current economic growth, according to CUC executive director Gary Camacho.

“You have to understand that when you over-extend generation, you are basically paying for something you are not benefitting from,” said Camacho, speaking before the Saipan Chamber of Commerce last Thursday at the Sandcastle of the Hyatt Regency Saipan.

“We want to acquire enough demand to accommodate growth and, of course, to have a reserve capacity,” he said. To that end, “CUC has been successful in addressing economic growth on island over the last year and a half.”

Camacho said the last thing CUC wants to do is invest in engines that produce 120 megawatts and have a 50-megawatt demand. “We will be paying for those assets while the assets are not generating revenue,” he added.

Camacho said that CUC is aware of keeping capacity and reserve strong to meet the demand.

“That’s the reason why any new power plant facility that we have would have enough new generation to address the immediate demand and establish a sufficient reserve capacity.”

“Equally important to us is to also have the foundation in the facility for expansion for a new engine as the growth in the CNMI continues,” he added.

Camacho recognizes that the business community is an important part of the economy “that’s why they have to be handled with care. They rely on information to forecast and project their own business plans.”

“So it is CUC’s responsibility to provide information and this benefits the utilities side as well,” he added.

Camacho said that CUC grants administrator Carl Castro is hard at work in dealing with the grants that come CUC’s way because every grant lightens the costs that consumers bear.

“Since 2010, we got $16 million worth of grants and these are essential to ensure this financial pressure is not [borne] by the consumer. A lot of our projections work through 2019, there’s a lot of things that we are doing to keep up with the economic growth and also trying to keep rates low and not impact [businesses].”

“We are trying our best in every area in which we can acquire grant funding from the Office of Insular Affairs, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Economic Development Administration, and a variety of others,” he added.

Bea Cabrera | Correspondent
Bea Cabrera, who holds a law degree, also has a bachelor's degree in mass communications. She has been exposed to multiple aspects of mass media, doing sales, marketing, copywriting, and photography.

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