The public bidding for a 500 Kilovolt electric project to double the national system's backup capacity, scheduled for the first quarter of 2019, could be postponed for several weeks in response to a request from pre-qualified companies, an official source reported today.
The general manager of the public Electric Transmission Company (ETESA), Gilberto Ferrari, confirmed that in the approval of the specifications made on Thursday the five pre-qualified companies requested to change the tender's date so they can elaborate their proposals.
Ferrari recognized to the local channel TVN that they already knew this was going to happen "and that's why we had a planned addendum, that we're going to get it out after we listen to everything they tell us."
"But yes, we are going to consider a few additional weeks for the term (of the bidding process), and we will be formally communicating it in the addendum," Ferrari said.
This request is also on the table with the concern expressed by the representatives of the pre-qualified companies regarding the fulfillment of the agreements they can establish with the authorities of the Ngäbe Buglé indigenous district, through whose territory a section of the important project must pass.
ETESA has sought out the approach with several communities in the region, some of the members have expressed their opposition to the project invading their lands.
Ferrari explained today that the line "has one-third of it within the Ño Kribo region of the Ngäbe Buglé Comarca," and said that on February 1, the Ño Kribo Regional Congress will take place in this indigenous demarcation to present the results of the negotiation of that aboriginal area with ETESA on this matter.
"We hope to have such approval on that date" in relation to the passage of this project in the region, said Ferrari.
This is the Chiriquí Grande-Panama III Fourth Electricity Transmission Line III 500 Kva and associated substations, the "largest investment project in its category in Panama and Central America," for which companies and consortia from Spain, China, Brazil are already pre-qualified, India, Colombia, France, and Canada.
These are the companies and consortia Electrical Interconnection, SAESP (Colombia); China Electric Power Equipment and Technology Co. Ltd. (China); Chiriqui Consortium Energy Transmission (Spain); Four Seasons Consortium (India, France, and Brazil); and Vasco Nuñez de Balboa Transmission Consortium (Canada and Spain).
ETESA recalled last December 15 in a statement, which does not specify investment amounts, that the fourth line "will have a capacity of 1,280 mv / 1,500 MW, and comprises a length of 317 kilometers away and 70 meters wide of servitude."
It will cover a route through the Panamanian Caribbean that goes from Bocas del Toro to the province of Panama, between the Chiriqui Grande and Panama III substations, which are close to being built, according to official information.
That day 15, the engineering design, construction, supply and installation, commissioning, operation, and maintenance of the fourth line, was published a document of more than 1,000 page-project specifications that rests in the electronic system of public procurement of the Republic of Panama.
"So the construction can start near the season of 2020, after complying with the technical, environmental and social studies, as well as all the aspects contemplated by local laws, the company has foreseen that the tender will be held in the first quarter of 2019," ETESA said.
Once operational, the fourth line "will increase the transport capacity, therefore, decreases the losses of the system, which would represent, in economic terms, between 20 and 22 million dollars less per year," ETESA said.
The state agency said that the fourth electric transmission line "will initially operate at 230 kilovolts and will later be extended to 500 kilovolts."