Mayor Quintero toughens his arguments, while the EPM manager tries to reconcile with the construction consortium. Tenders would open in the coming weeks.
The latest statements made by EPM and the mayor of Medellín, Daniel Quintero, about the future of Hidroituango leave more doubts than certainties and reveal contradictions in relation to information emanating from the same public service company in the recent past.
Yesterday, the manager of the public services conglomerate, Jorge Andrés Carrillo, confirmed that the intention to start generating energy in July 2022 is firm despite the discussion that has arisen in the last month about the continuation of the construction consortium CCC Ituango to the in front of the hydroelectric works.
The entire media tidal wave was unleashed after the Comptroller General of the Republic issued a ruling of fiscal responsibility for 4.3 trillion pesos for the cost overruns of the energy complex, which falls on 26 people and companies, among which are the that make up CCC Ituango (Conconcreto, Camarco Correa and Coninsa Ramón H).
Quintero has been emphatic that his intention is to make the alleged perpetrators pay and that the sentence – which is not final because it has been appealed in the second instance – would disable the current builders to continue with the contract they have until next 31 December or to continue until the complex comes into operation. These in turn have defended their permanence in the project.
The last round of this fight, which was known yesterday at the end of the afternoon, was the challenge that CCC Ituango filed against the local president before the Attorney General’s Office, so that he refrains from participating in decisions that have to do with Hidroituango (see attached note).
Curiously, at a press conference that took place yesterday morning, the EPM manager had implied that the relationship between the parties had returned to cordial terms in a meeting that took place on Tuesday afternoon with the aim that CCC Ituango will indicate a candidate to relieve him.
“According to the consortium, the transfer of contracts is not viable, neither today nor in the future,” Carrillo revealed, although he did not rule out that this situation would change later. Likewise, he reported that preparations are progressing to put out to tender the contract for about 15% of the missing works in the hydroelectric plant (with a value greater than 4 billion pesos) and that CCC Ituango agreed to study the possibility of continuing in the project until the results of that process come out.
However, the conditions for providing this service are pending. The teams of both parties will be in contact this week for the definitions on the matter and there would be another meeting next week.
Works without a license
According to Carrillo, although the environmental license is still suspended today, works can be undertaken because the Environmental Licensing Authority (ANLA) allows mitigation work to be carried out and the only way to reduce the risk to the population of Bajo to its minimum expression. Cauca —located downstream from the dam wall— is putting the generation turbines to work.
“We say that we can do everything that points towards there, but we are also confident that we will have the license restored and normalized, because the country cannot have two speeches: one that Ituango has to enter because here it is at stake. the lives of 200 thousand people, the country’s energy security and EPM’s finances, and the next day to change it and not give the license because the concepts are not fulfilled ”.
For former Minister of Mines and Energy Amylkar Acosta, Carrillo’s argument is unfounded and “it is like cheating the norm.”
“The premise from which we must start is that in Colombia no project can be carried out without an environmental license, and in the case of Hidroituango, the decision made by Anla is firm and there can be no evasions. It has to be fulfilled. Now, who determines if the works that are being carried out correspond to mitigation or not is not EPM, but Anla ”.
The possibility of unlocking the aforementioned license depends on the presentation of a study to be seen on the current and future stability of the infrastructure associated with the main works of the project, which must be presented by the Chilean consulting firm Poyry no later than November 30 and after that, as Carrillo recently said at the congress of the Association of Public Service Companies (Andesco), the concept of the Anla would take about six months.
Mayor Quintero said this Wednesday in the Plaza de las Luces that there are items of Hidroituango’s losses that are not insured, such as lost profits that would only cover one year, while it is estimated that the delays could be four years. However, a specialized source explained to this newspaper that this type of insurance comprises two branches: damages and lost profits.
In this case, the insurers have been making the payment for damages, as each claim becomes firm. Hence, $ 350 million has been disbursed by Mapfre. The other item, the loss of profit, can only be assessed once the power plant comes into operation.
At EPM’s press conference, its Vice President of Risks, Andrés Uribe Mesa, specified that the exact amount insured is 2,556 million dollars in pecuniary damage and 628 million dollars in lost profits.
The Deloitte concept
But a contradiction of greater significance has to do with the consequences of the relief of the construction consortium to achieve the objective of starting operations in July 2022. Quintero and Carrillo have said that they would be minimal; However, in a report released by the international consulting firm Deloitte at the end of September, based on information provided by the same EPM administration, in the face of a “change in the civil works constructor, it would not be possible to comply with the defined schedule until on December 31, 2020 (…) since the transition process, no matter how optimal, would affect it, and therefore, on the new date of start-up of the project indicated in this report ”.
Another factor that, the document points out as a possible alerter of the schedule, because they would affect the pace of work, are the decisions that are eventually made to control Covid-19.
In the same way, he adds that EPM “continues in the process of evaluating the damages generated by the contingency that occurred in the project since April 28, 2018, which is a factor that has led to the date of our verification to increase the number of days in arrears to 283 ”.
Again, he warns that this would affect the dates of the project’s schedule.
All of the above indicates that the next few weeks will be crucial for the outcome of Hidroituango’s future, since not only must CCC Ituango’s decision be given, the Poyry report would also be delivered and, in less than three weeks, the tender for the new construction company.
However, everything is still very foggy, as manager Carrillo is not quite accurate when talking about the future of the CCC Consortium, while Quintero is playing with the change. In addition, many forces are asking that an issue so important for the country no longer be played with. Last night it was learned that a commission of 12 congressmen with ties to Antioquia will hold a meeting this Friday with EPM to talk about all this novel to which they want to entangle the argument