Power generator already installed on Rota, but it tripped after a day


The 1.8-megawatt generator that the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. had purchased to address a power emergency on Rota has already been installed, but it recently tripped due to a “grounding issue.”

CUC executive director Gary P. Camacho informed the CUC board directors in a meeting last Friday that the Caterpillar diesel engine was put online last June 21 at 4:08pm, but it tripped the following day at 8:10pm, causing an islandwide outage on Rota.

Camacho said a “grounding” issue caused the engine to conk out.

Acting CUC board chair Weston Deleon Guerrero said they should make sure that this project is completed by a fixed date.

Deleon Guerrero said there should be a date as to when the contractor is supposed to complete this project, even after the shipping issue and whatever issues that came up that supposedly delayed the project’s completion.

He said a fixed date means “we are not leaving it open for them[contractor] to just finish whenever they feel like,” he added.

In a separate interview, Deleon Guerrero said there should be a specific date of completion, taking into consideration the shipping issue and what CUC had to prepare under the contract, with penalties.

Deleon Guerrero said he needs to check with CUC staff again what exactly the grounding issue is.

“…We have to check on our side to make sure…that…the site is ready to accept the generator,” he said.

He said the CAT generator is already installed and certain testing was done to make sure that they’re not giving CUC something faulty.

“They did turn it on and that was running the island of Rota for several hours. Then there was an incident or some issues that happened that they had to call back the contractor,” he said.

He said the other Cummins power generator is providing the island with power right now because the contractor and CUC are checking the CAT generator.

Deleon Guerrero said CUC is trying to find out whether the “grounding” issue is CUC’s or the generator’s fault.

In a separate interview, CUC executing director Gary Camacho said they are testing the CAT engine unit. “They are still testing the unit and…there is another engine that they have been testing also,” Camacho said.

He said the other power engines, Mitsui and Cummins, are operational so Rota currently has substantial reserved power.

Camacho said CUC Rota produces 985,644 kilowatt and the island’s peak load is 1,700 kilowatts, with an available 3.6 megawatt in reserve power.

The entire project to purchase the generator for emergency is $690,000.

The CUC board of directors approved the selection of the International Bridge and Construction Marianas Inc. to procure, deliver, and install the generator.

IBCMI failed to meet the May 19, 2019, deadline to install the generator after it allegedly encountered some issues in delivering the unit from the U.S. mainland to Rota.

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
Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.