POST TIME: 10 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Fast-track power plants stumble, miss operation deadline
Project sponsors are now trying to pursue the govt to extend deadline

Fast-track power plants stumble, miss operation deadline

All the five fast-track diesel-fired power plant projects in private sector failed to come into operation making the government’s plan uncertain to add 800 MW electricity to the national grid by February 9, reports UNB. Non-settlement of land disputes and other complexities are still holding back the project completion and these projects may not be able to start operation even by next couple of months, said officials responsible for project execution. The project sponsors are now trying to pursue the government to extend their project completion deadline and re-fix the commercial operation date (COD) with a deferred timeline.

The five HSD (high speed diesel) plants are Aggreko International’s 100 MW Awrahati, 100 MW Bhrammangaon, and 300 MW Pangaon, in Keraniganj near Dhaka, Bangla Trac’s 100 MW Noapara in Jessore and 200 MW Daudkandi in Comilla.

These five projects are among the total 17 projects undertaken as fast-track projects to add total 2468 MW before July this year. The remaining 12 are furnace oil-fired ones with total generation capacity of 1668 MW. These were awarded to sponsors for setting up within nine months of their contracts.

According to official sources, the projects were hurriedly undertaken following the last year’s peak summer power crisis that had put the government into a very embarrassing situation.

All the projects were awarded to private sponsors on an unsolicited basis without any tender. The Speedy Increase of Power and Energy Supply (Special) Act was applied to select the sponsors.

Officials said that higher tariff of electricity has been offered to them giving only six-month time to implement whereas such plants need minimum one year time for installation.

The penalty of the diesel-fired projects which is termed as liquidity damage (LD) was fixed at $100 per megawatt per day for the sponsors in the event of their failure to come into operation as per the COD.

Official said all the sponsors made commitments to the government to install their respective plants as per schedule.

But once they got into project execution, started facing the music as they found huge hurdles in procuring land and machines.

However, officials said the main condition of the projects was that the sponsors have to have their own lands or manage land by their own initiatives.

“So, if they fail to procure and prepare the land for project implementation, the whole responsibility will have to be borne by them”, said Golam Kibria, chief engineer of the Power Development Board (PDB).

He said the government is hopeful of resolving the problems now the sponsors are facing.

As per the plan of the government, the state-owned PDB will buy electricity from the plants for next five years.