ST JOHN’S, Antigua – St Phillip’s North MP Robin Yearwood has raised serious questions about the new Chinese-built power plant at Crabbs that was commissioned just three months ago.
Yearwood was making his contribution to the budget debate yesterday when he claimed that the cost of electricity supplied by the 30-megawatt facility operated by APUA is much higher than what is on offer from the Hadeed-family-owned Antigua Power Company (APC).
Yearwood, a former public utilities minister in the previous Antigua Labour Party administration, claimed to have gleaned that information from an affidavit by APUA General Manager Esworth Martin.
He said APC produces one unit of electricity at a cost of 40.7 cents, while the Crabbs plant – which Yearwood referred to as the Wadadli Plant – turns out a unit of electricity at a cost of 49.3 cents.
If Yearwood’s allegations prove to be true, they would certainly fly in the face of what the authorities have so heavily touted about the Chinese power plant – as a more reliable and affordable source of electricity than what hitherto obtained.
The new Crabbs facility was also conceived as government and APUA’s answer to lessening the dependence on APC, with which the state entities are locked in ongoing legal battle to limit the amount of electricity that APC is allowed to generate and sell in order to make up the shortfalls in APUA’s production capacity.
Yearwood also claimed that when all expenses are added to the basic generation costs, the price of electricity from Wadadli is 69.7 cents per unit as opposed to 57 cents from APC. “This means Wadadli would cost 12.9 cents more (per unit) than APC, giving a total of $17,028,000 a year.”
Yearwood also delved into the loan agreement between Antigua & Barbuda and China for construction of the power plant, suggesting that the amount quoted by the St John’s government does not tally with certain documented information.
When it became apparent that Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer and others on the government side did not have the documents from which he was quoting, Yearwood provided them to be photocopied and distributed.
It is expected that responses from the prime minister and other government officials will be forthcoming in due course.