St. John’s Antigua- Officials from the People’s Republic of China are now on island for the sole purpose of addressing the power plant controversy.
The delegation, which arrived on Thursday, is meeting with the Baldwin Spencer administration to address the issue.
A press statement from the Office of the Prime Minister said officials from both governments will hold a press conference next Monday to address the issue.
There have been claims that the Chinese-supplied MAN engines for the 30-megawatt power plant, which was commissioned in September, do not appear to be new as touted by local authorities. Photographs of rusting engines at the 30-megawatt power plant have, for weeks, been circulating on the Internet, but they are yet to be authenticated.
The equipment is reported to have been manufactured in China under license from MAN, from whom permission first had to be obtained in the event of the Chinese exporting any of the licensed machinery outside their domestic market.
Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) General Manager Esworth Martin, in a previous interview with OBSERVER, said it was the company’s belief that the engines were new, as APUA technicians travelled to China to observe the assembly process.
Late last month, Prime Minister Spencer lashed out against the opposition and media, who he described as “unpatriotic and dangerous.” He charged that perennial reports were intended to damage the relationship between Antigua & Barbuda and the People’s Republic of China.
Spencer said with the newly- commissioned power plant, APUA stands to save approximately $2.7 million per month.
Spencer also said that the addition of the new power plant and the soon-to-be-completed tariff review of APUA rates, particularly as they relate to electricity, will result in a reduction in electricity bills.