6 firms cleared for power bid

| 20/02/2014

(CNS): The Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) has revealed that six firms have been cleared to bid on the contract to generate 36MW of future electricity to supplement the power provided by Caribbean Utilities Company (CUC) and introduce energy competition in Grand Cayman. The bid is undergoing its second round after a protracted scandal involving the former MD of the regulator caused the solicitation awarded to DECCO, part of the Dart Group, to be cancelled amid allegations that the bid was doctored after the fact. Despite the accusations, DECCO is one of the six companies said to be qualified in this latest solicitation, along with CUC, three international companies and a local consortium.

However, Navasota Energy, the Texas-based company which was the third firm, along with DECCO and CUC, cleared to bid during the previous round, was not on the ERA qualification list. It is not clear if the firm, which had raised concerns about the original tender, decided not to bid this time around or was not qualified.

Although six firms have now been given the go-ahead to submit proposals to generate the extra power, the ERA said it is not a forgone conclusion that they will all enter bids.

“While it is indeed true that qualified bidders may or may not bid, the ERA certainly hopes that qualified bidders will submit their best bid in order to ensure competition in the generation of electricity which is the ERA’s role and clearly in the public’s best interest,” the ERA deputy managing director, Louis Boucher, said. “The ERA, as always, is fully committed and determined to ensure that the solicitation process is conducted in the most fair, objective and transparent manner as per General Regulatory Principles of ERA Law.”

The ERA will be keen to ensure that this time the process is not dogged by controversy. In the wake of the previous bid award, allegations of fraud and theft against the former ERA boss, Joey Ebanks, first surfaced. In his response to the enquiry against him and the so-call financial irregularities, which resulted in his arrest for a catalogue of offences from theft to drug possession, Ebanks began making allegations about the Dart bid being altered after it was awarded.

As a result of its own internal enquiries and the delays caused by the Ebanks case, the ERA eventually cancelled the bid and the award to Dart and started over.

In this latest pre-qualification round, in addition to the existing local power firm, CUC, and Dart’s construction company DECCO, four other firms have also been pre-qualified.

Aecom Energy is an international firm, which describes itself as a leader in integrated planning and engineering solutions for a sustainable energy future, helping clients reduce energy consumption, develop renewable sources, cut carbon emissions and improve grid reliability.

Energy World Corporation Ltd is an integrated energy company based in Hong Kong and listed in Australia and on the OTCQX in the US. The company has primary gas and power operations located in Sengkang, South Sulawesi in Indonesia and also produces gas, power and LNG in Australia.

The Louis Berger Group, Inc. is an international consulting firm that provides engineering, architecture, programmed and construction management, environmental planning and science, and economic development services.

While CAYMAN36SPV (Optimal Energy Limited and InterEnergy Holdings) is understood to be a local consortium.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Very few jurisdictions have competition in electric utilities.  What they have is proper regulation.

    • Anonymous says:

      Cant have competition in utilities such as water and power.   Economics dont work (eg, economics dont work if erect two sets of powerlines).   That is why powerand water are monopolies everywhere in the world. 

      Telephony used to be a monopolistic utilities when phones were land lines only.  Now with other modes such as cellular and satellite telephony, competition can exist. 

      As you say, regulation is key for monopolistic utilities.  

  2. Foreign Devil says:

    This is exciting stuff, cheaper power soon come and I am going to get an electric car and beat the gas bills to.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Great we should have competition in the industry by about 2075!