DANDAN Saipan—Six companies including a California-based firm engaged in alternative energy sources have signified interest to take over the Commonwealth Utilities Corp.’s power generation and distribution division.

Anthony C. Guerrero executive director of CUC told the Journal four of the companies have requested pre-qualification documents which upon submission and approval would qualify them to join in the bidding process for the privatization. He said at least two more have inquired about the process.

“We anticipate that there will be more interests in the next few days ” Guerrero said.

Pre-qualification documents contain information describing a company’s business history and capabilities. The deadline for submission is March 12.

Guerrero declined to divulge the names of the companies that have responded to CUC’s “initiation to pre-qualify ” which was issued on Feb. 9. He said he is “not at liberty yet to disclose who have picked up or who are interested until all pre-qualification submittals have been received and made public in mid-March.”

Phillip Mendiola-Long local representative for Leonie Industries LLC; told the Journal the company has submitted pre-qualification documents. Leonie Industries is based in California and has opened its local entity Leonie Renewable Energy LLC.

“We’re very confident. We intend to be one of the finalists at least ” he said. “We believe that we are the only company in the world capable of providing the alternative solution that the Northern Mariana Islands requires to solve its utility problems.”

Mary Nelson executive director for the Business and Creative Development office of Leonie Industries; told the Journal  from Los Angeles that the company’s goal is  to “provide long-term cost savings to the NMI through our hybrid renewable energy solutions.

“Some of the renewable energy options that are currently being assessed are wind energy ocean energy bio-mass energy solar energy and geo-thermal energy. Some initial studies have been conducted by our energy experts but further detailed feasibility studies are ongoing ” she said.

Leonie Industries learned about NMI’s power generation needs following discussions with Long last November in Hawaii during the 2006 Island Business Conference organized by the Department of the Interior.

The company’s officials made a presentation before Gov. Benigno R. Fitial and other local officials at Fiesta Resort & Spa on Jan. 29.

“Their presentation to the governor and our legislative leaders showed the unique opportunities that renewable/alternative types of power generation can provide the NMI ” Guerrero said.

The Fitial administration has moved to privatize CUC’s power generation and distribution division as a way to resolve the current power crisis in the NMI. MBJ