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Saipan appeal by KUTh Energy partly granted by public auditor

Saipan, Northern Marianas (source: flickr/ ctsnow, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 9 Aug 2013

Australian KUTh Energy has been granted one of two appeals logged over a tender that KUTh won in 2012 by the public auditor in Saipan, Northern Marianas. The company initially won a tender which was then subsequently changed and then withdrawn.

In the continuing controversy over a tender gone bad on Saipan in the Northern Marianas in the Pacific, Australian developer KUTh Energy has now been informed that “the Office of the Public Auditor granted one of two procurement appeals filed related to a request for proposal for geothermal energy on Saipan.” by KUTh in 2012. ThinkGeoEnergy reported on this in 2012.

KUTh won a Commonwealth Utilities Corp. bid to develop geothermal energy on Saipan, only for that same request for proposal to be cancelled months later. A revised RFP was issued later, but by the Capital Improvement Project Office, for geothermal consulting services.

“OPA believes that based on KUTh’s reasonable reliance that CUC would be the agency that would issue a revised solicitation for the geothermal project, and the undisputed fact that KUTh had been selected as the responsible contractor for CUC’s ‘-048 RFP award, and thus would have submitted a proposal had it known about the -024 RFP prior to its bid opening deadline, KUTh shall be considered a prospective bidder that was aggrieved at not being considered for the -024 RFP award due to its detrimental reliance on what it was being told by CUC. Such a status comports with CNMI Procurement Regulations,” OPA said.

To ensure that all parties are treated fairly and that the geothermal development project is properly managed, OPA granted KUTh’s appeal as to -024 RFP, and KUTh’s protest was remanded to the Procurement and Supply.”

“However, OPA denied KUTh’s other appeal, which alleged that CUC had dealt with KUTh in bad faith when it cancelled the first RFP for geothermal energy development.”

With funding available for initial work that was supposed to be part of the tendered services, it is sad to see that things did not move and are now part of an appeals process. One can only hope that despite all, these islands are seriously explore their geothermal potential to possibly replace fossil fuel-based power generation to the benefit of the population.

Source: Saipan Tribune, KUTh Energy release (pdf)