SAIPAN TURNS TO INDIA WITH ITS POWER PLANT WOES

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Fitial to meet with energy experts from India

By Ferdie de la Torre

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Dec. 18, 2008) - Governor Benigno R. Fitial will be meeting today with representatives of a major energy company operating in India that wants to help solve the CNMI’s power crisis.

Fitial did not identify the company, but only described it as a "credible, well-capitalized company that may offer viable energy solutions for the CNMI’s energy crisis."

Fitial has invited Senate President Pete P. Reyes and House Speaker Arnold I. Palacios to join him in the meeting with the company’s representatives at the governor’s conference room today at 10 a.m.

In Tuesday’s letter to Reyes and Palacios, the governor underscored the importance of the meeting due to the government’s urgent need to collaborate on a solution to the public utility crisis.

"As all of you should know, this administration alone will not be able to address our energy crisis by itself, independently, without the vital support of the Legislative Branch of government," Fitial told the two lawmakers.

Reyes told Saipan Tribune yesterday that he is going to attend the meeting.

"Anything that would find some way to ease up the hardship of the people that we represent is something that I am very concerned with," Reyes said.

The Senate president said if there is a way to find a company that will provide dependable, uninterrupted power distribution to all residents of the Commonwealth at a very reasonable and affordable rate, then he will support that.

"If this is the company that’s going to do that, then I am going to put aside politics," he stressed.

On Tuesday, members of the Senate and House committees on Public Utilities, Transportation, and Communication expressed concern whether the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. is capable of overhauling the power plant engines on time or will it end up extending the Aggreko contract for temporary generators.

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