Founded in 1935, Centro Cuesta Nacional (CCN) is a major business group that owns several real estate, distribution, production, retail and financial companies throughout the Dominican Republic. The corporation is headquartered in Santo Domingo where its main administrative offices, industrial bakery, retail store and mini-mall are connected through the same facility.
To supply its locally owned supermarkets and retail stores, CCN also owns an offsite distribution center that includes a 65,000-square-foot (6,000-square-meter) cold storage unit for frozen and refrigerated goods. This facility delivers other goods and is responsible for monitoring inventory at all CCN supermarkets and retail stores.
The enormous facility requires a constant flow of electricity to ensure each business remains open to employees and the city’s four million residents. Cash registers, refrigeration units, air conditioners and lighting all require electricity to run. If the facility loses power, the loss in goods at the Jumbo retail store would be huge.
Like all Caribbean cities, Santo Domingo experiences heavy wind and rain as well as threatening hurricanes that can leave residents and business owners without power for days and sometimes even weeks. To make sure the facilities are equipped to handle severe weather and any other unexpected disturbances in power flow, Julián Elías, Corporate Maintenance Director for CCN, wanted to secure a reliable backup power source for emergencies.
“We have a strong reputation throughout the island that we didn’t want to sacrifice, so we looked for the best possible generator set we could find,” said Elías. “We had to think about all the buildings connected to our headquarters as well as the remote distribution center. We knew this was going to be a challenge and we needed a reliable solution.”
CCN looked to local Cat® dealer, IMCA, for its power generation needs. Victor Matos, Power Systems Sales Manager for IMCA, knew exactly how to tackle the situation at hand. “There’s no doubt that this was a large undertaking,” said Matos. “Collectively, we put a lot of thought into how we could make this project costeffective for the customer, but still provide enough power to a major facility that included several other stores and offices as well as the remote distribution center.”
Elías and Matos decided on operating three generator sets, including a Cat 1135 kW 3512 diesel generator set and two 1.5 MW 3512 diesel generator sets, operating on load sharing. The key was installing Cat switchgear that utilizes remote communication capabilities for monitoring and synchronization while controlling the entire system for seamless integration.
Total power is distributed so that the technology offices run on 150 kW, headquarter offices operate on 400-500 kW, the distribution center runs on 1.2 MW and the retail store and surrounding mini-mall runs on 2.1 MW, which generates a total of 3.8 MW from the installed generators.
The relationship between CCN and IMCA did not just start with this install, as this working partnership began several years ago when IMCA provided backup power to other CCN businesses and retail store locations. Altogether, IMCA has installed 28 generator sets in 19 CCN owned facilities throughout the Dominican Republic, with a total power output of 20 MW.
The generator sets and switchgear are serviced by CCN technicians. However, Elías relies on IMCA for major problems that demand greater skills. A dedicated Power Systems Sales Representative calls regularly to make sure the generator sets are working properly. “We know we can rely on IMCA for any power system need,” said Elías. “If we need new parts, we can call IMCA right away. They have an excellent service response time, which gives us an extra sense of security.”
Elías’s trust was put to the test in 2007 when IMCA brought in a Cat technician from the United States to commission a switchgear. Later in the day, the team found a damaged part that prevented the unit from operating correctly. This was critical because the system had to be up and running in two days in order to open the supermarket.
Matos, was on site when the damage was found and boarded an airplane to Alpharetta, Ga. the next morning at 6 a.m. to retrieve the new Cat systems part. The next day, Matos returned to the Dominican Republic with the part in hand, which was installed by 8 p.m. with time to spare before the supermarket opening.
“This really sealed the deal for us to stay with IMCA and Cat products,” said Elías. “I couldn’t believe that the issue was resolved in less than two days. That’s one of the main reasons we always work with IMCA. We are extremely confident in their work and the reliable Cat products they deliver. We have received excellent service throughout the years. For us, the choice is and always will be easy. Caterpillar continues to be the option that offers us the greatest added value.”