The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has found contractors willing to complete the unfinished portion of the Dhalkebar substation project in its third attempt.
On December 12, the state-owned power utility published a notice inviting interested bidders to submit proposals to complete the stalled project. They were given a week to apply for the contract.
This was the third tender notice issued by the NEA.
The first two had drawn blanks. On Wednesday, the power utility opened the technical proposals of the two bidders, Telmark and ABB Engineering, both Indian companies.
The NEA has said the technical evaluation of the proposal will be completed within a week. The power utility will then review the financial proposals of the technically qualified companies. After reviewing the financial proposal, the power utility will select the lowest bidder and send its name to the World Bank, the multilateral lender which is financing the project for its no objection letter.
“After we get the World Bank’s no objection letter, we can seek the NEA board’s approval and then finally award the contract,” said Prabal Adhikari, spokesperson for the NEA. “We expect to complete the process of awarding the contract within a month.”
Although, the stalled substation project will start moving again after a new contractor is appointed, the facility is not expected to come online in time for the dry season when the NEA has planned to import extra power from India.
The 220 kV substation would have allowed the NEA to boost electricity imports from India over the Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur cross-border transmission line, and prevent possible power cuts during the rainless months.
“Even if the new contract is awarded within a month, it will take another four months to complete the construction,” said Adhikari. “Therefore, we will not be able to import more than the 160 MW we are importing through the substation during this dry season.”
The power utility, however, has said that there will no power cuts despite the delay in the construction of the substation at Dhalkebar. “We will fulfil the country’s electricity demand by increasing energy imports from India via other cross-border transmission lines,” said Adhikari.
Last September, the NEA fired the Chinese contractor originally hired to build the Dhalkebar substation, Central Power Grid International Economic and Trade Corporation, after being fed up with its deliberate delays. The company had completed more than 90 percent of the construction work on the substation.
As per the deal signed between the NEA and the Chinese company in June 2014, the substation should have been up and running by September 2015. However, deliberate delays by the contractor led to the deadline being extended for the third time to May 31, 2017, but that deadline too passed after it halted construction without notification.
Source : The Kathmandu Post