Apr 25, 2017 News
Following the award of the multi-billion-dollar contract for the rehabilitation of 328 kilometres of Guyana Power and Light’s (GPL) electricity distribution network, it appears as though the contractor is experiencing difficulties in
procuring the specified smart meters to be used.
The contract was awarded to China National Machinery Import (CMC) and its partner Export Corporation and China Sinogy Electric Engineering Co. Limited at a cost of $4.6B. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the European Union are funding the part-grant/part loan project.
Multiple sources indicated that the company had signalled to the relevant authorities that it would not be able to obtain the required meters from its original source.
Due to this, the company has asked to source the meters from China. Additional information received suggests that the company did not provide the procurement entity, GPL, with sample meters to be tested.
It would raise serious questions how the Chinese company was evaluated since no sample meter was reportedly tested to ensure that they meet specifications.
Kaieteur News understands that among the requirements for the smart meters are their suitability to operate in a tropical climate and outdoor environment; ability to measure domestic active energy and commercial and industrial loads; ability to detect absence or presence of continuous power; must have indicators for testing and indication of consumption and must be able to support two way communication.
More importantly, the meters are supposed to possess the ability to remotely disconnect or connect electricity using software from the control centre, once they are integrated into an AMI system with communication modules in the future.
It is unclear how only now CMC and its partner are looking to source the meters – over 20,000 of them.
In February, there was a High Court battle over the contract award since it was $1B over the engineer’s estimate. One of the bidders, Fix-It-Depot who was partnering with a Colombian company, challenged the evaluation process.
The Attorney General Basil Williams, who represented the State, argued that the Procurement Act does not apply to the project, but rather to the IDB’s rules.
He had argued that the project was in danger of losing the financing and that the court had to grant a speedy hearing and decision.
Representing Fix-It-Depot was Attorney Devindra Kissoon who quoted a critical supervising engineer’s report of CMC’s past work in Guyana and with GPL which criticized the Chinese company’s performance on a US$40M sub-station, transmission lines submarine cable project. There were questions about the evaluation process also.
According to the contract, the company is expected to install over 20,000 meters. In the first phase of the project, CMC should be procuring and installing transformers, cables and connectors and smart meters. The running of new lines for the medium and low voltage distribution network will target areas in Berbice and Demerara.
After the contract is implemented, it is expected that GPL will record a sustained trend in overall loss reduction, an improved and accountable management performance against consistent key performance indicators and within minimum international standards and a more modern, efficient and reliable operational system.
Electricity theft has been a major problem which the power company has been dealing with for a number of years. It is expected that these meters would address this with their technology.
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