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Power Plant Concern: Questions Raised About Selection Process for 360-Megawatt Project

 

Energise Jamaica Limited, one of the parties interested in building the 360-megawatt power plant, has raised concerns about the credibility of the selection process — a week before the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) is expected to notify the highest ranked bidder.

 

The OUR, which is handling the project, is scheduled to complete an evaluation report of the proposal tomorrow and inform the highest ranked bidder no later than next Wednesday.

 
 
 
Tank-Weld boss Chris Bicknel (second left) makes a point during an emergency press conference at General Accident on Half-Way-Tree Road in Kingston, yesterday. With him are (from left) Nigel Davy, chief executive officer of Armorview Holdings; Musson Deputy Chairman Dr Nigel Clarke; and Musson Chairman PB Scott. (PHOTO: BRYAN CUMMINGS)
 

Tank-Weld boss Chris Bicknel (second left) makes a point during an emergency press conference at General Accident on Half-Way-Tree Road in Kingston, yesterday. With him are (from left) Nigel Davy, chief executive officer of Armorview Holdings; Musson Deputy Chairman Dr Nigel Clarke; and Musson Chairman PB Scott. (PHOTO: BRYAN CUMMINGS)

 But at an emergency press conference yesterday, Energise Jamaica — a local investment group that includes Tank-Weld and Musson Jamaica — called for the immediate release of the results of the evaluation, amid what it said have been “persistent delays” and “lack of transparency” that could “potentially compromise the process for selecting the best solution for resolving Jamaica’s deep energy crisis”.

 

The entity also called for the OUR to end any further request for clarification outside of the formal evaluation period.

 

The investment group’s outcry comes after the most recent delay in the release of the evaluation report on Monday, due to what the OUR said was a desire for “clarification on critical matters from some bidders”.

 

In a written statement read at the press conference by Musson Deputy Chairman Dr Nigel Clarke, Energise Jamaica argued that “this latest delay… is in contravention of best practices of transparency and governance in a public tender of this magnitude and impact”.

 

They suggested that the delay could send the wrong signal to both overseas and local investors.

 

The 360-mw project aims to slash, by a third, Jamaica’s energy costs which, at an expensive US$0.40 cents a kilowatt-hour (kWh), has been largely blamed for the country’s inability to increase production and attract investment.

 

Energise Jamaica is among three local entities and a Hong Kong-based firm, Energy World International, that have submitted bids for the building of the power plant.

 

Along with the most recent delay, Energise Jamaica listed a string of “irregularities” in the process. These include the admission of a late bid after the established guideline and after unsolicited proposals were already evaluated; the delays in the deadlines for submission of responses to the instructions for final proposals (IFFP) from June 17 to July 29 and from July 29 to August 8; and the “last-minute” modification in bid requirements, two business days before the deadline, eliminating the requirement of a bid bond at the time of submission of bids.

 

Clarke stated that the group is fearful that the call for “clarification” will possibly allow for and intensify the perception of subversion without the release of the report.

 

He said that there seemed to be a pattern of flexible accommodation for certain bidders, citing the instances of Energy World International being allowed to make a late bid and the waiving of the bidding bond requirement.

 

“If bidders can wield such influence, subvert national priorities, flout formal procedure or flexibility and benefit from special consideration prior to formal selection, how will they behave post-selection?” Clarke said.

 

“How confident can Jamaicans be that they will deliver on promises without extracting further concessions and unusual changes”? he asked at the press conference held inside the General Accident conference room on Half-Way-Tree Road in Kingston.

 

Clarke, who was joined by Tank-Weld boss Chris Bicknell, Musson Chairman PB Scott, and Nigel Davy of Armorview Holdings, which is also part of the consortium, stressed that the concerns raised by Energise Jamaica Limited were not done in a self-serving manner.

 

“This is not about Energise, it’s about being able to establish and maintain the credibility of a process that is required for the unprecedented nature of the project,” he said. “The credibility is crucial because whoever comes out on top needs that credibility.”

 

Source: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Power-plant-concern_15056223#ixzz2en3dbWxu



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