Plan on hold to replace wooden power poles with concrete ones


The plan to replace the Commonwealth Utilities Corp.’s wooden power poles on Saipan and Tinian with concrete ones is temporarily on hold until funds for the project become available.

CUC executive director Gary P. Camacho told the CUC board last week that the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s funding for the restoration plan has not been obligated in its entirety since the plan is still undergoing FEMA review.

He said CUC will resume the project once funding is obligated and is available for use.

CUC’s restoration plan in the wake of Super Typhoon Yutu, which hit the Commonwealth in October 2018, focuses on the hardening and strengthening of CUC’s overheard power distribution system on the two islands.

That plan would require at least 2,121 concrete poles of various sizes to replace wooden poles of corresponding length. It would also involve installing transformers, pole hardware, and conductors.

He said CUC’s Power Division Office is working with the CNMI Public Assistance Office under the Office of the Governor to come up with a restoration plan that meets CUC’s hardening goals for its power distribution system.

On Saipan, out of 3,195 damaged wooden poles, 41% have already been replaced with concrete poles as of June 7, 2019, and there are 59% that remains to be completed.

On Tinian, out of 1,067 damaged wooden poles, 76% have already been replaced with concrete poles as of June 7, 2019, and there are 24% that remains to be done.

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

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