THIRD POWER BLACKOUT THIS WEEK ON SAIPAN

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By Gemma Q. Casas

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Sept. 30) – Business activities on Saipan, including the scheduled regular session of the House of Representatives, were stalled for nearly an hour yesterday after another engine at power plant 1 malfunctioned.

This is the third unannounced blackout to hit the island in more than a week’s time since the power supply was "normalized."

The House re-set its 2 p.m. session for 3:25 p.m. due to the power outage.

The lights went out shortly before 2 p.m. on Capitol Hill, Garapan and other nearby villages.

Officials of the Commonwealth Utilities Corp., which remains under the control of the governor, were in the House chamber when the lights went out. They were lobbying for the passage of a bill that would allow CUC to continue hiring nonresident workers in technical fields.

CUC officials said they, too, were surprised by the power outage.

CUC Executive Lorraine Babauta said the information she received was that engine no. 7 showed abnormally high temperatures, and had to be shut down to protect it from further damage.

"In order to restore power, they have to take other feeders out of service. Now, as we speak, they are slowly bringing those feeders in," she added.

October 3, 2005

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com

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