Xaris in the balance again?
Nampower is being taken to court in yet another attempt to have one of its power projects stopped. The Xaris Power Project is in the crossfire again but this time from a competitor who claims the tender process was flawed.
The applicant, Arandis Power, is hoping to have the tender cancelled or re-negotiated. This is according to Arandis Power Managing Director, Ezio Vernetti who responded to queries by the Economist.
Said Vernetti, “Yes that is factually correct. We sustain that the tender NPWR/2014/22 was not fairly evaluated and that in fact Xaris Energy should have been disqualified and not nominated Preferred Bidder.”
Referring the Economist to the High Court for the affidavit Vernetti continued, “we have lodged an affidavit to that effect with the High Court of which a copy will presumably be made available to you upon request, by the court itself.”
He added, “we are hoping to set aside the decision to proceed with Xaris as the Preferred Bidder in view of concluding negotiations for the construction of the power plant. Should the Court concur with our submissions, then the result could lead either to negotiations being commenced with Arandis Power as the Reserve Bidder or alternatively the tender being cancelled.”
The Economist contacted Nampower spokesperson Ambassador Monica Nashandi and Communications Officer Gladwin Groenewaldt on two different occassions to establish whether Nampower would continue with negotiations pertaining to the power purchase agreement to be signed with Xaris. No response was forthcoming. Xaris for its part also did not respond to questions regarding the power purchase agreement.
The Xaris Power project was halted in May 2015, only for the decision to be reversed in December 2015 when a press conference was hastily called by the Ministry of Mines and Energy to announce the continuance of the power project. Explaining the continuance of the project at the time, Energy minister Obeth Kandjoze said that Cabinet agreed to give the go ahead on condition that Xaris keeps its original project design, that it will only produce 200MW, that it only remains a stop-gap measure while waiting for Kudu to go online and that the project will be implemented without the involvement of government funds.
Xaris dodged the headlines of a daily which subsequently led to a rushed television discussion on national broadcaster NBC’s Business Day in which Information and Broadcasting Minister Tweya Tjekero stated that no decision on Xaris had been taken and accused the media of sensationalising and misinforming the public, indirectly making reference to the Xaris project.