30 Mar 2011

CUC relieved at end of emergency status

10:29 am on 30 March 2011

The Commonwealth Utilities Corporation is relieved the Northern Marianas Governor has lifted the agency's emergency status, after more than two years operating under the administration's watch.

The emergency status was put in place to enable it to skirt procurement and other laws to cope with rolling blackouts and imminent power generation failure.

The CUC now functions as an independent agency.

Its chief executive Utu Abe Malae says since his arrival last year, there has been significant progress, but there's much more to do.

"The issues have to do with trying to operate the utility properly, and then trying to meet the very legalistic requirements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, because we are under a stipulated order, and then also trying to operate under the aegis of the Public Utilities Commission."

Utu Abe Malae says the other challenge is dealing with the rising cost of diesel for power generation.