CUC withdraws emergency in genset acquisition

Posted on Apr 20 2017

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The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. board has cancelled the emergency status of its procurement of a diesel engine yesterday during its regular board meeting.

After last week’s joint legislative oversight hearing over the emergency procurement of an engine to address Saipan’s growing power needs, the CUC board halted negotiations with General Pacific Services Marianas Inc. Freezing of negotiations was a recommendation that was offered by both the CNMI House and Senate Public Transportation and Utilities committees.

In line with cancelling negotiations, CUC also withdrew the emergency status of the procurement, which means that the utilities company would be procuring the needed 8- to 10-megawatt engine the normal way—through a request for proposal, or RFP.

CUC board chair Adelina Roberto told media that the board is following the recommendations of the Legislature.

“[Legislature] said there was no emergency, so we are just doing what they asked us to do. We cancelled the RFQ (request for quotation) and that was accompanied by an emergency declaration, so when we cancel the RFQ, we also have to cancel the emergency status since they were together,” explained Roberto.

CUC board member Joseph Torres, the director who escalated the procurement to an emergency status, proposed to the board to cancel the request for quotation altogether, effectively cancelling the engine’s emergency status along with it.

“The Legislature said there is no need for an emergency [declaration] because they think [our situation] is okay. I decided [to declare an emergency], because of what the CUC generation people reported to us of the situation about the engine,” explained Torres.

According to Torres, he further explained that the quickest way for the procurement of the engine was to “declare an emergency.”

“I recalled the emergency issue and we will see—based on what the Legislature has recommended—which way we could go [for] the proper procurement of the engine.”

In the event that a situation arises due to the lack of power, Torres claims he would “go up to [the Legislature] and ask them what [CUC] should do.”

Torres reiterated that the Legislature has been welcome to attend CUC board meetings, but said he was disappointed that members of the Legislature failed to show up yesterday.

“The administration was aware of the situation because we reported. Again, I asked them to come to our meeting so they can hear the status of our power plant,” he said.

Despite declaring that the generator procurement was an emergency and rushing to procure the engine as fast as possible, the CUC board stepped back to discuss the procurement further and issue an RFP in the near future even if it meant the delay of the engine.

“We would sit down with the management and we would see what we can do to move forward,” said Torres.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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