03 Aug 2017
- By Junhan B. Todiño – [email protected] – Variety News Staff
COMMONWEALTH Utilities Corp. Executive Director Gary Camacho said they submitted on time all the requirements for the renewal of the CW-1 permits of CUC’s power-plant workers.
However, he said, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has yet to approve the renewal petitions.
“It is my understanding that there is additional information needed so we are preparing that for submission,” he added.
CUC has 32 CW-1 permit holders who perform technical jobs.
“Without these positions filled, CUC operations would be severely compromised,” the administration said in its latest state-of-significant-emergency declaration for CUC.
In a letter to the governor, Camacho said there are not enough U.S. citizen or U.S. resident technical specialists available to perform power-generation work, particularly specialists with experience with the type of engines that CUC uses.
“U.S. citizens with the necessary skills are not readily available in the CNMI and it is costly to recruit from the United States. CUC believes that the vast majority of the skilled positions, considering its cash restrictions, must be filled by non-U.S. personnel. CUC has tried to hire diesel mechanics in the CNMI, but has been unsuccessful in finding enough qualified candidates,” Camacho said.
The impact of an inadequate workforce is substantial, he added, because it will result in deterioration of services, degradation of the power plant, power outages, and failure to meet federal-court deadlines for the stipulated orders. The court could then appoint a federal receiver and its consulting team with all expenses charged to CUC customers, Camacho said.
In interview, he said they are also looking into upgrading the visa and immigration status of their nonresident workers.
Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/97412-cuc-says-it-is-complying-with-cw-rules