CUC prepares takeover of Tinian power plant

20-year package for bidders eyed

The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. is preparing a package that may recommend to the CUC board a
20-year contract for bidders to run Telesource CNMI Inc.’s power plant on Tinian.

Telesource’s contract with CUC to operate the 20-megawatt diesel power plant on Tinian is expiring at the end of March 2020.

At CUC board meeting yesterday, CUC executive director Gary P. Camacho said they and the Office of the Attorney General have already taken two trips to Telesource to discuss the power plant’s transfer to CUC.

Camacho said the power plant’s owner has been helpful and directly involved in the transition requirement for CUC to take over.

Camacho said they sent a five-man crew Wednesday to Tinian to review all aspects of the facility and that the team had collected all the information they needed.

He said he is working with Guam Power Authority’s John Benavente to put together a model for the contract package as they have done a lot of these in most of their plants in Guam.

Camacho said if the board agrees, the management’s wants to have a 20-year program with a contractor. One that won’t require CUC to shell out large sums to pay for big repairs along the way, he said.

Commonwealth Utilities Corp. board chair Miranda V. Manglona presides over a board meeting yesterday, in which one of the issues discussed was CUC’s preparation in taking over Telesource Power Plant facility on Tinian. Telesource’s 20-year contract with CUC expires on March 31, 2020. The CUC management is preparing a package that may recommend to the board a 20-year program for the winning bidder. (FERDIE DE LA TORRE)

Camacho said that CUC board member Ike Perez also wants to ensure that they try to incorporate some sort of renewable energy in the contract package.

“I did mention that to Benavente in our discussion,” he said.

In a separate interview, Camacho said they sent a team to Tinian because he and CUC want to understand the facility and know its current condition.

He said the OAG’s position is that they have to advertise the contract as there is no extension for Telesource.

“The transfer of the property must be provided to CUC, according to OAG,” Camacho said.
He said Telesource will also have the opportunity to rebid. “We are putting the package as quickly as possible,” Camacho said.

Assistant attorney general Jose Mafnas Jr., who is the CUC counsel, said that Telesource contract expires on March 31.

“There is going to be an invitation for bid for vendors. All the vendors are going to submit their bid and we go from there,” he said.

Mafnas said the length of the contract is still being discussed by the CUC management and that it’s Telesource’s prerogative whether to apply or not.

“Telesource can re-apply and all the vendors can,” he said.
The Telesource issue was among the items that the board was set to discuss during the executive session yesterday.

The contract started in September 1997, with Telesource contracted to build and operate the power plant for $21.6 million.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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