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Coalition issues caution to Energy Monitoring Committee

Published:Monday | February 3, 2014 | 12:00 AM

The Jamaica Civil Society Coalition (JCSC) says the Energy Monitoring Committee (EMC) overseeing the 360-megawatt energy project should be careful not to allow confidentiality agreements to become an obstacle in its efforts to carry out its mandate.

The JCSC issued the caution in a release yesterday afternoon as it welcomed the public update on the project on the weekend by the EMC. It urged the oversight body to continue to be vigilant to ensure the interest of the public is protected and served.

On the weekend, the EMC co-chairman, Peter Melhado, said there was still further due diligence to be conducted on the preferred bidder, which is to establish the baseload generating capacity project.

The EMC, therefore, urged the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) to delay making a recommendation to the energy minister on whether a licence should be granted to EWI.

It will cost the EWI US$737 million to execute the project.The company has already paid a one per cent bid bond, and will soon be required to post a five per cent performance bond, which will become due prior to construction.

The director general of the OUR, Albert Gordon, has said EWI's ability to finance the project will be taken into account as the regulator considers whether to recommend to Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell that a licence be granted to the company.

Gordon told The Gleaner that the EWI was looking at different options for financing the project.

But the JCSC is maintaining that although it is mindful of the importance of protecting proprietary information, the public must be assured that its interest is being protected. It says the EMC must include in its updates to the public a clear indication of whether it is satisfied or concerned with elements of the process.