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Concerns emerge about function, responsibilities of new electricity enterprise team

Published:Sunday | June 1, 2014 | 6:24 PM

The Office of the Prime Minister today named the six-member team of the new Electricity Sector Enterprise Team (ESET) to oversee the successful building of the beleaguered 381-megawatt electricity generation plant, but there are concerns about its functions and responsibilities.



Executive Director of the National Integrity Action, Professor Trevor Munroe, has raised several concerns about how the Electricity Sector Enterprise Team (ESET) will perform its duties.



He says, for instance, it is not clear who is responsible for the overall management of the project to replace the country's existing baseload capacity.



Munroe also questioned who will be responsible for updating the public on the project and whether ESET will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement similar to the one signed by the Energy Monitoring Committee. He suggests that such an agreement will incapacitate the ESET in its reporting.



The NIA executive director adds that the full terms of reference need to be shared to provide clarity on the role and responsibility of ESET. He says based on the release issued by the Office of the Prime Minister today, ESET appears to have responsibilities other than managing the procurement for the new electricity baseload project.



The Office of the Prime Minister today named businessmen Joseph M. Matalon and Williams Mahfood to complete the committee being chaired by Dr Vincent Lawrence. The other members of the team are former director general of the Office of Utility Regulation (OUR), Dr Winston Hay, Professor Alvin Wint and Trade Unionist Helene Davis-Whyte.



Munroe also raised concern about whether there was still an arrangement with the preferred bidder in the former process, Energy World International (EWI).



ESET was established after EWI, the firm that was granted a licence by the OUR to develop the new electricity baseload project, failed to meet the deadline to pay the required performance bond. The energy minister has since written to EWI giving notice of his intention to revoke the licence, but its not clear whether the licence has been revoked. The process was being managed by the OUR.



ESET will report to the Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and Cabinet, while the OUR will maintain its regulatory oversight of the process.



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