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Energy minister wants powers of his office extended

Published:Monday | October 7, 2013 | 9:03 AM

Debbie-Ann Wright, News Editor – Radio



Energy minister, Phillip Paulwell, will be seeking to have the powers of his office extended in relation to procurement for electricity.




The disclosure comes amid controversy surrounding the tender process for the 360 megawatt project and claims of bungling by the Office of Utilities Regulations (OUR).



On Friday, the OUR announced that Energy World International (EWI) was now the preferred bidder for the project.



The announcement followed the failure of the number one bidder, Azurest Cambridge, to meet the deadline for posting the US$6.9 million security bond for the project.



However, there had previously been several hiccups in the procurement process, with the OUR delaying the selection of a preferred bidder on multiple occasions.



And Paulwell says the OUR’s performance will have to be reviewed at the end of the tender process.



In addition he says a greater role for the energy minister should also be considered as part of that review.



In a report last month, the Contractor General had stated that Paulwell had overreached his powers in relation to the bidding process and may have compromised the independence of the OUR.



The contractor general, Dirk Harrison, said Paulwell had acted improperly when he accepted EWI’s proposal after the deadline set by the OUR.



Harrison had recommended that EWI be excluded from the process as a result.



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