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SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, July 3) – Lack of fuel and a generator problem caused 10 incidents of power outages in many areas on Saipan yesterday.

[PIR editor’s note: Saipan’s power company has been trying to stay afloat for some time now. The company has hiked rates and increased collection and monitoring activities in an attempt to keep the power on for the 62,000 plus residents of Saipan.]

The outages started at 7:50 a.m. Everything returned to normal at 4:34 p.m., according to the Commonwealth Utilities Corp.

CUC spokesperson Pamela Mathis told Saipan Tribune that the outages happened because the utility agency lacked enough energy to meet customer demand.

Mathis said the Power Plant 4 in Puerto Rico was not able to produce enough energy because it had no fuel.

Also, a generator unit at Power Plant 1 in Lower Base was down due to a water pump that was leaking.

Mathis said there was miscommunication between Power Plant 4 and CUC on the fuel supply, resulting in the power plant running out of fuel.

Mathis said that from 7:50 a.m. to 8:57 a.m., the outage affected the northern grid or from Lower Base to Tanapag and Marpi.

The power outage was rotated to the southern grid from 8:03 a.m. to 9:28 a.m., affecting the Chalan Kiya Substation to Lower Dandan, As Lito Road, Afetna, San Antonio, Chalan Piao, southern Chalan Kanoa, and Fina Sisu.

CUC made temporary repairs that allowed energy production to go up but the fix did not hold, triggering more blackouts, Mathis said.

At 11:15 a.m. to 1:37 p.m., an outage occurred in north Chalan Kanoa, San Jose, and Chalan Kiya. Susupe experienced an outage from 11:15 to 12 noon.

From 11:25 a.m. to 11:51 a.m., an outage occurred in Garapan and along Beach Road to San Jose.

From 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., power was out in Sadog Tasi to Kagman. Capital Hill had an outage from 1:30 p.m. to 2:01 p.m.

From 1:42 p.m. to 4:21 p.m., blackout affected large customers and small streets in Upper and Lower Miha.

From 2 p.m. to 4:19 p.m., the outage hit Taro Sue and China Town areas.

From 3:17 p.m. to 4:34 p.m. the affected customers were USA Garment, Kannat Tabla, Joeten Commercial Complex in Dandan, and Stanford Hotel.

From 3:55 p.m. to 4:09 p.m., the outage happened again along Beach Road Garapan to San Jose.

Mathis said power plant crews used parts to repair generator unit No.5, which was up and running just before 4 p.m. Monday, allowing them to systematically energize the sections of the island that experienced outages from 1:30 p.m. to 4:34 p.m.

"At this hour, the unit was no longer leaking water, though the power generation manager stresses that he is using used parts and needs a shipment of new parts to stabilize the generation situation (as well as the overhauls that CUC is now scheduling, thanks to the US$6.5 million recently released by the U.S. Department of the Interior)," Mathis said.

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