The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. power grid hit a 26-megawatt peak this week—the highest its been since Typhoon Soudelor, according to CUC officials yesterday, as the public utility continues work on the island’s lateral power lines after restoring power to the main distribution lines on Sunday.
The daily average peak hovers around 19 to 20 MW.
The 25.7-MW peak this week was the maximum consumption the grid has seen since Typhoon Soudelor wrecked the power, transmission, and distribution systems in August.
It’s a good sign because it shows that CUC has hit 25.7 MW out of a 34-MW peak—the highest number before the typhoon. This means more customers are online and bigger loads are coming on.
On the repair of lateral lines, acting CUC executive director John Riegel said CUC crews are first going into areas with larger populations like Dandan, Kagman, Garapan, Chalan Kanoa, and other highly populated areas.
“Those areas will be first,” Riegel told Saipan Tribune. From there, CUC will move to laterals that are less populous.
Riegel told CUC board members during a meeting yesterday that they ordered more transformers to “accelerate the speed we can hook up” power lines.
CUC has recovered 635 damaged transformers. Over a thousand “reconditioned” transformers are en route to Saipan.
Riegel assured board members, when asked, that the transformers are “PCB-free.” He said a first order of transformers would have taken two months before they could get to the island, but CUC found another vendor who could provide reconditioned transformers in two weeks.
On water, Riegel told Saipan Tribune that the total volume they are producing is about 78 percent of maximum production. Riegel said 71 percent of wells are online and are pumping water.
Kia’aina visits CUC
Esther Kia’aina, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas, met with Riegel yesterday afternoon.
Riegel said her biggest questions were how CUC fared during the storm and what plans for mitigation do they have to harden their facility so there would be no repeat of damage.
Kia-aina wanted to “make sure we are looking at things like that,” said Riegel.
“She can help direct funding [for recovery and mitigation] and direct us to other sources of funding,” he said.