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Azurest to be named preferred bidder for 360-MW project

Published:Wednesday | September 18, 2013 | 10:26 AM

The Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) is expected to announce today that Azurest Cambridge Power has been selected as the preferred bidder for the 360-megawatt electricity generating project, according to inside sources.

The process has been mired in controversy with Contractor General Dirk Harrison, in a report tabled in Parliament yesterday, characterising as improper, the intervention of Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Phillip Paulwell in the tender process and the acceptance of Energy World International after the deadline that had been set.

The OUR has scheduled a press conference for 1 p.m. today to provide what it said is an update on several current projects, but at which it is expected the preferred bidder will be named.

However, the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, Jamaica Chamber of Commerce and the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association said they will be boycotting the briefing based on the Office of the Contractor General’s special report on the inappropriate handling of the procurement process.

“The groups are again calling for the OUR’s planned briefing to be postponed until the issues and concerns highlighted in the OCG’s report have been fully addressed,” the groups said in a joint media release this morning.

Azurest has promised to cut electricity costs by half by 2015 should it be selected.

It has also promised to sweeten the deal with a US$1.5 million investment to go directly towards scholarships and international training for persons in various sectors and towards city beautification.

Addressing a media briefing in St. Andrew last month, managing director of Azurest Partners, Kenneth Allen said the company has invested heavily in ensuring that Jamaica and consumers will reap big.

He said the company could take electricity prices down to between 15 and 20 cents per kilowatt hour using gas from the United States.

Currently, the cost of electricity to Jamaica Public Service customers stands at approximately 42 cents per kilowatt-hour.