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Azurest Says OUR’s Refusal To Extend Deadline Robs J’cans Of Best Energy Solution

Kenneth Allen (left), managing director of Azurest Partners, speaks at a recent press conference related to the 360MW project. Leonard N. Enriquez, president of Cambridge Project Development Inc, looks on.-FILE

 

Energy World International/Pacific LNG (EWI) has moved up to the preferred-bidder position to construct the 360-megawatt power plant that Jamaica desperately needs to slash its energy bill.

 

Yesterday, the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) announced that the previously announced preferred bidder, Azurest Cambridge Power, failed to meet Thursday’s deadline to make a one per cent deposit to secure the contract, which forced the OUR to move to the next bidder.

 

In a letter to the OUR, Azurest Cambridge asked for an extension of 15 working days; however, in keeping with the requirements of OUR’s instructions for final proposals, the request was denied.

 

In a statement yesterday, Azurest Cambridge Power said it regrets the decision by the OUR not to grant the extension, noting that “being denied this crucial extension, Jamaican consumers may have been subsequently robbed of the most viable solution to their energy needs”.

 

STILL SOURCING FUNDS

 

The principals said they remained resolute in their commitment to providing a cheaper energy solution for Jamaica, and would continue their efforts to secure the investment capital in order to do so.

 

EWI now has 15 days to pay a security bond, which would take them to October 19. However, Gleaner sources had said representatives of the Hong Kong-based company was willing to travel to Jamaica as early as next week to meet with the OUR and make the deposit.

 

EWI, which had proposed to use natural gas from its own gas fields in Indonesia, made an offer price of US$0.14.56 per kilowatt-hour.

 

EWI’s inclusion among the list of four bidders for the major project has been clouded in controversy. Contractor General Dirk Harrison had ruled that they be excluded from the list, because their bid was facilitated after the cut-off date of March 15, 2013. Harrison chided the OUR, stating that this was unfair and irregular and a clear breach of the Contractor General Act.

 

REFUTING HARRISON’S FINDINGS

 

The OUR responded that the contractor general’s findings were “patently incorrect and unsupported by the requirements of government policy and the law”, and that the conclusion that the March 15 deadline was a strict termination date for a formal procurement process “is completely erroneous and is predicated on the unlawful application of a procurement procedure applicable to consulting services”.

 

The OUR said based on the informal nature of the process, it could lawfully accept and consider EWI’s bid.

 

In a statement yesterday, the OUR said: “Conclusion of a formal arrangement with EWI is conditional on the completion of aspects of due diligence on the company and its principals by the Financial Investigation Division, which had been requested to carry out this exercise for all bidders.”

 

The OUR’s ranking of the bidders in the project to provide baseload capacity to the national grid had Azurest Cambridge in first place, followed by EWI, then Energise Jamaica Ltd, then Optimal Energy.

 

The 360-megawatt plant is expected to supply half of Jamaica’s energy needs.

 

Source: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20131005/lead/lead2.html



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