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Monitoring group stresses concerns over sign-off on EWI

Published:Monday | March 24, 2014 | 12:00 AM

The Energy Monitoring Committee (EMC) co-chaired by investment banker Peter Melhado has expressed concern over what it says is the Office of Utilities Regulation's (OUR) intention to proceed with a recommendation for a licence to be issued to Energy World International (EWI).

EWI is the preferred bidder to construct the country's 360-megawatt energy plant.

The monitoring committee said though it recognised the regulator's responsibility in the matter, it had reservations about the lack of concrete information provided by EWI to support its application for a licence.

The committee said information has been specifically lacking in the areas of the company's financial capability, fuel-supply availability, and fuel-export permissions.

dearth of information

According to the committee, a dearth of information persists despite requests made by the OUR, and it felt it had a duty to outline its misgivings in relation to the procurement process due to the importance of the project to the economy.

"The EMC feels bound to express its concern with the procurement process that has led the project to this advanced stage without requiring the provision of the above-referenced information, which the committee considers vital in the assessment of the preferred bidder's capability to undertake, arguably, the largest single investment in Jamaica in recent times in a critical area of our economy."

In a release yesterday, the EMC said it noted the regulator's indication that the information would form part of what would be required from EWI in the coming months under the power-purchase agreement and licence.

However, the committee said the OUR would have been better served if it had the information prior to the licensing stage, given the importance of this step in the overall process.