Inos renews state of significant emergency
The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. aims to have the final feeder, “Kiya 4,” up by the end of this week, utility officials said during a press conference Friday, as the CNMI heads into its third month in a state of disaster following Typhoon Soudelor.
CUC is still on target from the original date to have most of the island energized by end of October, but in 60 days since Typhoon Soudelor hit Saipan, there were logistical issues that made the two months “not necessarily 60 days of work,” CUC power manager Gary Camacho said.
As they move into island laterals, the work becomes “more strenuous,” but they are trying to bring in six more bucket trucks for this effort.
CUC officials on Friday said they aim to “tie-in” Kiya 4 as soon as this week.
“On Aug. 28, we only had three feeders—1, 3, and 4—and now, in October, we have all except Kiya 4 and Kiya 4 will be done next week,” said acting executive director John Riegel.
“In a month from now there’s going to be a large number of homes on power,” Riegel told Saipan Tribune.
CUC has Power Plant 1 at 35-megawatt capacity. When one generator is put back online this week, this would be up to 45 megawatts.
Power Plant 4, meanwhile, is at full capacity at 8.4 megawatts, Riegel said. This generation is on standby.
As of Friday morning, CUC was running 19 megawatts of power, with this amount expected to go up as more homes get on the grid.
CUC information officer Brad Ruszala said they have been working to continue a “steady flow of supplies” and “cut through the red tape” as restoration efforts continue.
Riegel said one lesson he learned from the typhoon was that they “need more inventory.” CUC struggles with lack of payment from other government agencies.
CUC has recovered 635 damaged transformers. Riegel said they have ordered “reconditioned” ones from a vendor. About 1,062 are en route.
Riegel said this was at “less expense” and a difference of “two weeks versus two months” in time to arrive on island.
Inos renews state of emergency
Meantime, Gov. Eloy S. Inos renewed on Friday the state of significant emergency and major disaster for a third time since Soudelor hit in August.
“…Full utility services have not yet been restored to the island of Saipan,” Inos said.
Inos last renewed the state of disaster on Sept. 3. Then acting-governor Ralph DLG Torres made the declaration a month before for the first time on Aug. 3.
President Barack Obama declared a state of major disaster and significant emergency on Aug. 5, allowing for federal assistance in recovery efforts.