Report Suggests New Hidroituango Contractors Have Troubled History
As the Hidroituango hydroelectric project moves forward with new contractors under the administration of Mayor Daniel Quintero, a new report reveals previous projects of the Chinese contractors that have been reportedly expensive and unsuccessful for the countries it was in.
Finance Colombia has previously reported that the Ituango PC-SC Consortium, made up of two Chinese government-affiliated construction companies, Yellow River CO LTD and Power China International Group Limited Colombia Branch, and one Colombian company, Schrader Carmargo appears to be the one that will move forward with the construction of the troubled project.
As controversies abound over the funding and construction of the project, Medellín daily El Colombiano has revealed that some past projects of Sinohydro Corporation Limited, which is a subsidiary of Power China International, have been haphazard and expensive with very little success to show for it publicly for the project host countries.
Among the projects that Sinohydro has done in Latin America region is the Coca Codo Sinclair, a billion-dollar project located on the Coca River in Ecuador, billed as the largest of its kind inside the country and designed to create over 35% of the nation’s energy needs.
Despite its high price tag of $3.3 billion, the structure reportedly suffered multiple fractures; a report from the Control Commission of Ecuador’s National Assembly found more than 17,499 cracks, as well as other construction-related problems. The project reported only generates 700 megawatts of power, less than half of the 1,500 megawatts that was supposed to be its capacity.
Questions have abounded about the new consortium, allegedly ushered in by the Quintero administration after he had demanded the previous contractor, the CCC Ituango Consortium, to renegotiate their contract after accusing them of corruption–something which they refused to do.
Among the questions about the new consortium is their knowledge of the Hydroituango project, taking over from a previous contractor that left on less than cordial terms with the Quintero-controlled EPM.
The bidding process has also received harsh criticism, with the editorial staff of El Colombiano openly-questioning the haphazard and much-delayed bidding process that ended up with a single bidder. Olga Lucia Arango, the president of EPM’s largest labor union, SINPRO, had claimed as early as 2020 that the controversy was engineered by Quintero in order to re-issue the contract.
Jorge Andrés Carrillo, the CEO of Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM) is already claiming that the operations of the first two turbines in the dam have decreased the prices of electricity in Colombian electricity exchanges by more than 60%.
Como siempre lo hemos dicho, #Hidroituango es la seguridad energética del País. La entrada en operación de las unidades 1 y 2 con 600 MW ya tuvo un impacto en el precio en la bolsa de energía: hace 8 días el valor del kW-h era $526 y ayer fue de $200 por kW-h.@EPMestamosahi
— Jorge Andrés Carrillo (@jaaacarrillo) January 26, 2023
Above photo courtesy EPM