Total Cost Of Infrastructure Improvements For CNMI Utility Tops $321 Million

Senate receives financial report from CUC

By Jon Perez 

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Sept. 14, 2016) – The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. needs more than $321 million for its infrastructure replacement and improvement projects based on a report they submitted recently to Senate Public Utilities, Transportation, and Communications committee chair Sen. Sixto K. Igisomar (R-Saipan).

CUC acting executive director Gary P. Camacho submitted the report in response to Igisomar’s Senate Resolution 19-48 that was adopted last June 29. SR 19-48 requests the CUC and the DPW to submit its physical development plans on infrastructure projects in the Third Senatorial District.

The resolution also asks the Department of Finance to also provide a detailed accounting of the developer infrastructure tax collected on Saipan as mandated by Public Law 8-23. CUC’s infrastructure development plans include projects for power, water, and wastewater.

CUC’s report includes a power generation expansion plan, Power Plant 1 engine replacement and expansion plan, description of the proposed projects and recommended plan of action of Saipan water system, and its estimated costs.

The power generation expansion plan is estimated at $61,158,672, while all proposed projects for Saipan’s water system needs approximately $259,850,000.

The estimated cost of the proposed projects for Saipan’s water system are as follows: $500,000 for installing working meters on all service connections; $15,640,000 for leak detection and repair; $19,640,000 to drill new wells and $19,740,000 for pump inventory; $22,240,000 for the Lower Base sewer system; $24,940,000 for the abandoned Isley booster stations; $28,440,000 to replace the Isley-As Perdido main transmission; $31,440,000 to complete collection of minor upgrades; $32,090,000 for San Roque’s distribution main modifications; $32,290,000 for tank metering; and $32,890,000 to evaluate the impact of commercial infrastructure developments.

‘It’s a start’

Acting Senate president Arnold I. Palacios (R-Saipan) said the report submitted by CUC now gives the Legislature a basis on what needs to be done to improve their services to their Saipan consumers.

He said one of CUC’s problems was its failure to invest more in its infrastructure like power generation, sewer, and drainage system. “Now we have a lot of catching up to do. We have people in CUC that put up this report and it’s a start.”

Palacios said the Senate could now plan on what needs to be done to improve CUC’s facilities. “At least we already got the report and we now know what are the compelling needs.”

“At least we [Legislature] know what their plans are and we can now act to address the concerns. But we need more information so we could plan ahead and move forward. There are a lot of things that we need to do.

Saipan Tribune
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