Lightning causes islandwide outage


A lightning that hit the Commonwealth Utilities Corp.’s power plant in Lower Base yesterday morning plunged the entire island of Saipan into a power blackout.

The incident, according to a CUC statement, happened at 9:02am due to an early morning thunderstorm.

CUC said that Power Plant 1 was struck by lightning that affected the power distribution in Feeders 2 and Feeder 3’s primary overhead power distribution system, causing Feeder 3’s breaker to explode.

No person was injured in the incident.

Power restoration started with Feeder 1, which includes the Commonwealth Health Center, the island’s lone hospital.

“[CHC’s] generators kicked in immediately [once the power went out], so no interruption of services. …The hospital is being prioritized,” Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. public information officer Samantha Birmingham-Babauta told Saipan Tribune yesterday.

As of 12pm yesterday, CUC has restored the power in several areas.

The power outage also affected water services.

CUC said water services would normalize beginning at 6am today as their water tanks need to be refilled to a certain level.

Other advisories
The CNMI Public School System also issued an early dismissal before noon yesterday due to the power outage.

“Due to the islandwide power outage, the CNMI [PSS] will be releasing students at 11:30am. Parents are requested to pick up their children between 11:30am to 12nn. Buses will be available to all bus riders,” said PSS.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services released a flood statement based on information provided by the National Weather Service in Tiyan, Guam after several areas on Saipan experienced flooding.

“At 12:33pm, public reports indicated continuous heavy rain and thunderstorms across Saipan with areas of standing water. This will cause urban and small stream flooding. One to two inches of rain have already fallen in recent hours,” added the statement that was compiled at the CNMI Emergency Operations Center-State Warning Point.

For more information, call CUC’s Customer Call Center at 6644282 or the CUC Hotline at 2364333, or call the CNMI EOC State Warning Point at 2378000 or 6648000.


Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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