With what seems like non-stop vegetation growth on the islands, the Power Division of the Commonwealth Utilities Corp.s works just as hard to continuously clear them out from under and on power lines, said CUC executive director Gary P. Camacho.
In an interview regarding the progress of clearing out vegetation and trees from power lines, Camacho says he is “very, very impressed with the amount of work that they do and the speed in which they’re doing it.”
According to Camacho, the work the Power Division does “has reduced the voltage frequency issues to some extent. We haven’t had very many outages since that was directly involved with vegetation.”
However, there were some trees that had to be cut down and Camacho is working closely with Sid Cabrera, an agriculturist and agricultural consultant, to help replace some of those trees and “coordinate the plans and get out and do the planting.”
With some of federal funds directed to this division, the 20 staff assigned for vegetation clearing is expected to continue with their work for about two years, which began in the middle of January this year. According to Camacho, he has also submitted a couple of requests for the same service on Tinian. He is “hopeful that they would be considered and approved so we can get that done out there.”
Joe Rabauliman, who functions as the team leader of the vegetation clearing crew, said Wednesday, “Right now, we’re working [on a portion of Beach Road in Garapa] and we’re concentrating mostly on our main lines. …We’re trying to get everything as much as possible so that we can move into those other lines, the single lines that lead into the jungles or in the villages.”
Rabauliman commends the young staff for working hard under the hot sun and that “they’ve been doing an excellent job.” According to him, a lot of the staff are young and for some of them, this is their first job. Some of their livelihoods have also been directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
CUC would like to remind the public of House Bill 14-112, HS1, SS1 that restricts the planting of trees and other vegetation below and around power lines and facilities. That bill was passed by the 14th Legislature.
Private land owners, lessees, and renters are urged to comply and CUC would be responsible for the first removal of noncompliant trees and vegetation surrounding all primary and secondary lines.