CUC works to power up Lower Base so company can provide drinking water


With only about 5 percent of Saipan having its power back a week after Super Typhoon Yutu’s devastation, the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. is now working to restore power in Lower Base so a water company there can produce more drinking water.

With Feeder 1 already up, electric power is back in Puerto Rico, Navy Hill, Garapan, and part of China Town, according to CUC executive director Gary P. Camacho on Wednesday.

However, not everyone in those areas have power, Camacho said, as it depends on the extent of the damage to the power poles to homes or streets.

He said they are now working toward energizing water wells. “The idea is to pump water into the tanks and the tanks to the distribution system. That’s our objective right now,” Camacho said.

Areas that already have power since Sunday are Puerto Rico, Navy Hill, and Garapan. After Feeder 1, CUC is now working on Feeder 7 or the Lower Base area and then further south to Middle Road.

“We are trying to work our way to the water supply company so they can provide drinking water,” he said, referring to Saipan Ice & Water Co.

Camacho also disclosed that Guam Power Authority was sending 33 people yesterday, Wednesday.

He expect contractors to also come in to help rebuild. In addition, there are offers from some of the islands to assist the CNMI.

“We are trying to coordinate all of that,” Camacho said.

After bringing critical power and water to the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. and Navy Hill well, CUC said more equipment and crew are coming in to assist Saipan and Tinian.

Camacho was set to fly to Tinian Wednesday as the island was also greatly affected. He said they will look into the Tinian’s power and water systems and then would start preparing to deploy materials out there.

Some Saipan residents are asking why CUC is rationing water when the pipes are underground and are not affected. One resident suggested that CUC energize the wells using generators, the ones that CUC acquired after Typhoon Soudelor’s destruction in 2015.

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 ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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