First Look

NIA concerned about statements made by Director General of OUR



National Integrity Action Limited | 2014-03-19 00:00:00

National Integrity Action (NIA) notes with concern statements made by the Director General of the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR), concerning that office’s intention to recommend the licensing of Energy World International (EWI) to operate a 360 Megawatt Project, without any clear indication that due diligence requirements have been met.

NIA commends the OUR Director’s previously stated commitment to pursue information critical to the capacity of the Preferred Bidder, EWI, to deliver on the 360 Megawatt Project. We join with the Office of the Contractor General (statement released March 6, 2014) and Energy Monitoring Committee (February 1, 2014) in underlining the importance of thorough due diligence on this Project. This is important in verifying the financial capability and track record of the Preferred Bidder, the progress of projects the Preferred Bidder is currently undertaking and the proposed fuel sources for the Project.

Apparent delays on the part of EWI in the provision of requested information have raised concerns that have serious implications for the successful execution of the Project.

Given the critical importance of the cost of energy to every Jamaican household and business, to our growth strategy and to national development, we support the OUR in its fulfillment of its statutory obligations to uphold the best interests of the people of Jamaica in its scrutiny of this necessary Project. We remind the OUR Director of his stated intentions in commissioning due diligence on the Preferred Bidder, outlined in a January 13, 2014 letter to NIA, namely, to determine “(a) if there are issues that disqualify EWI; and (b) if there are issues that give rise to the need for additional safeguards.”

NIA calls upon the OUR to explicitly notify the public of (a) its satisfaction with the qualifications of the Preferred Bidder, EWI; and (b) its contentment that the interests of the Jamaican people will be adequately safeguarded in EWI’s execution of the 360 Megawatt Project. Such explicit notification need not breach any confidentiality around the due diligence.

NIA maintains that a recommendation to the Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, for the issuance of a license to EWI to supply electricity generating capacity, should only come after the previously stated requirements have been satisfied. We also call on the Energy Monitoring Committee to indicate its level of satisfaction with EWI.

In the absence of this level of satisfaction, which the OUR, supported by the OCG, previously indicated it desired, NIA calls on the OUR to reconsider what at best is a premature recommendation, reversing its previous position. Should the authorities nevertheless proceed, NIA wishes to place on record it's disagreement with the grant of the licence to EWI without due regard to the interests of the Jamaican people.

 




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