More than a dozen int’l firms keen on 80MW diesel plant

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    KATHMANDU, NOV 28 –

    More than a dozen international firms have shown interest in setting up an 80 MW diesel plant that the government proposed to establish under its load shedding reduction action plan.

    According to Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) sources, a total of nine bidders have so far purchased the bid documents, while another eight international firms have enquired about the bidding process.

    NEA had invited sealed bids through international competitive bidding from eligible The manufacturer/contractor on November 12. In the bid notice, the NEA had said that the bidder would operate and maintain the power plant for five years and hand it over to the authority after that period.

    Ram Chandra Pandey, general manager of NEA’s Generation Construction Division, said that among the bidders, three are Chinese and one each from Singapore, Australia, England, Dubai, the US and India. Bidders from Iran, Nepal, Hong Kong and Russia, among others have also been making inquiry to submit their bid document.

    “We have been receiving overwhelming responses from international bidders,” said Pandey. “Given the overwhelming trend of the last few days, we believe there will be more than 25 bidders till the bid closing date.”

    The bidders can buy bidding documents till December 11 and they have to submit the documents by December 12. “Once we collect the documents from bidders, we will begin to evaluate them,” said Pandey adding, that the evaluation process will be completed within three weeks at maximum.

    Each bid document is being sold at Rs 30,000 as per the NEA bylaws, which has fixed the form charge at Rs 30,000 for any contract worth more than Rs 100 million.

    A board meeting of the NEA had decided to install the generating plant in two phases—the first one will have a capacity of 36 MW and the other with 44 MW.

    While the NEA announcement of tender suggests the diesel plant purchase process has gained some momentum, there are doubts at some quarters of the NEA and the Energy Ministry over the successful implementation of the plan. “As there is no mention of the project’s funding in two-thirds budget, how could it be purchased?” said a ministry official.

    On the other hand, NEA employees unions—the Employees Association and the Employees Union—have launched a protest against the government’s plan to purchase the power generation plant, claiming it financially unviable. The NEA estimates the power plant to cost Rs 9.80 billion. “Those involved in the diesel plant purchasing process are clueless as to how they will generate the required amount at a time when the budget appears to have no plan for any new projects,” said an NEA source.

    According to him, it would cost around Rs 30 to generate a unit of energy from diesel plant—much expensive than Rs 7 that the NEA is currently charging its customers. “The proposed plant will result in an additional loss of Rs 23 per unit to the NEA,” he warned.

    Pandey, however, ruled out funding crisis for the project, saying that a Cabinet meeting had already decided to allocate Rs 9 billion to implement the Load Shedding Reduction Action Plan. “Around Rs 3 billion has been allotted to initiate the diesel plant buying process.”

    Source : The Kathmandu Post