TINIAN POWER COMPANY OBJECTS TO AGGREKO DEAL

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Telesource claims it can provide cheaper power

By Stefan Sebastian

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, June 26, 2008) – The company tasked with operating Tinian's power plant is railing against a deal the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. (CUC) has struck to gain emergency power, calling for reforms within the agency.

The CUC signed a $6 million deal with Aggreko International Monday to lease emergency power generators. Yet Telesource's management in a statement issued Wednesday said the company could have provided 10 megawatts of the power CUC needs for half the cost it is now going to pay Aggreko.

"The legal basis for the contract is suspect to say the least," Telesource writes. "But the costs associated with the contract are exorbitant compared to the alternatives available locally. Why hasn't CUC investigated these alternatives?"

Telesource and CUC are embroiled in an ongoing dispute over the agency's failure to pay the company debts it owes on a series of promissory notes totaling more than $800,000. The company has repeatedly said that without payment, it cannot afford spare parts and lubrication oil for its power station. Furthermore, the company has repeatedly blasted CUC for failing to provide diesel fuel for the station on a timely basis.

Telesource noted these disputes in its criticism of the CUC-Aggreko deal.

"While CUC is deciding to pay double rates for badly needed energy, why don't they pay Telesource for the energy it provides?"

The company further says that negotiations with CUC on the agency's unpaid debts have come to a standstill. Reform of the CUC, it adds, is badly needed.

"Without courage to do the right thing, the required change will never comes to the CNMI," the company says. "It is refreshing to know, however, that our people are waking up and the majority of our elected officials will not stand for this type of mismanagement."

CUC officials could not be reached for comment at press time.

Saipan Tribune http://www.saipantribune.com

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