Thu, Jan 04, 2001 - Page 17 News List

ABB Alstom generators underperforming

By Richard Dobson  /  STAFF REPORTER

Problems with power generating equipment made by ABB Alstom are the final hurdle in a seemingly everlasting string of difficulties EverPower (長生電力) must clear before commercial operation of its 960-megawatt Taoyuan plant can be launched, said executives yesterday.

In January 1998 the international electrical engineering company ABB Alstom won the contract to supply EverPower with four gas-fired turbines, heat recovery steam generators, two steam turbines, electricity generators and other related equipment in a deal worth around US$660 million.

EverPower executives said yesterday that although the plant is now fully completed, recent tests had revealed the generating equipment incapable of producing the expected total capacity of 960 megawatts.

"EverPower is currently negotiating with ABB Alstom to provide the appropriate modifications to their equipment to boost the plant's output and production efficiency," said an executive, who requested anonymity.

The executive would not specify exactly how short of total production capacity the plant had fallen, only saying that it was over 900 megawatts and below 960 megawatts.

ABB Alstom Taiwan officials were unavailable yesterday when sought for comment.

EverPower is also considering whether it will seek financial compensation from ABB Alstom for failing to deliver a power plant whose generating capacity does not meet with output targets specified under the contract, said the executive.

Reports said that the launch date for the plant had been pushed back from Dec. 28 to Jan. 5 and then again to Jan. 11, but executives declined to say how long discussions may last.

This delay is the latest in a string of setbacks since June last year, when EverPower was due to begin selling 900 megawatts of power to the Taiwan Power Co (台電) under the terms of a power purchase agreement.

The main reason for the long delay has been local residents, who, despite the intervention of the government with an offer of compensation totalling 15 percent of the market value of their homes, remain vehemently opposed to the power plant.

According to executives, residents unhappy about the location of high-voltage power lines passing nearby their homes, have filed a "great many" lawsuits with the Taoyuan District Court despite receiving an unspecified amount of compensation from the company.

Construction of the power lines from the plant to Taipower's Chungli substation has been completed and tests were conducted along the lines on Dec. 29 and Dec. 30.

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