The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. will be embarking on a project to harden its “overhead assets”—like power poles and wires—with materials that will be capable of withstanding future typhoons.
This will be a continuation of the work that CUC performed during the emergency power restoration effort following Super Typhoon Yutu’s devastation in October 2018, according to CUC executive director Gary P. Camacho at CUC’s board meeting yesterday.
The project, called Super Typhoon Yutu Mitigation Project, aims to harden the power distribution systems on Saipan and Tinian through the installation of resilient materials such as concrete poles and fiber glass crossarms and will focus on hardening CUC’s overhead assets with materials capable of withstanding up to Category 5 typhoons.
He said CUC’s Power Division will work with the agency’s Capital Improvement Project Department on implementing resiliency measures for critical areas of the power grid on Saipan and Tinian. It was not immediately clarified if this means the project will be federally funded.
Camacho said the measures will cover emergency power distribution services to the islands’ critical infrastructure such as Commonwealth Health Care Corp.’s public healthcare facility and the airports.
On the status of pole replacements on Saipan, Camacho said that 1,326 power poles or about 42% have already been replaced with concrete ones, while 1,869 power poles or 58% are pending replacement.
On Tinian, he said, there are 252 or 24% pending pole replacements, while 815 or 76 % have already been replaced.