Contractors of the 80MW Rusumo power plant have sought for an extension of the construction period, saying the contract ran into contractual delays and design hitches.
“The project will not be completed in time due to, among others, delays in the signing of the civil contract to start work,” said Darren George Protulipac, project manager.
“We also suffered geological conditions where the left rock on the powerhouse fell taking more five months to re-construct, leading to further delays,”added Mr Protulipac.
The Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project is shared by Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi. Once operational, the project will provide renewable clean energy and relatively low-cost power to the national grids of the three countries.
According to initial plan, the project was supposed to be completed in February next. In 2016, the World Bank and African Development Bank agreed to fund the construction the project, leading to commencement of construction was in February 2017.
Rwandan Minister for Infrastructure Claver Gatete said Energy Ministers from the three countries will review the contractor’s request for more time and make appropriate decision.
“There is no way we can avoid delays especially in engineering activities. The problem is that the contractors end up increasing the costs of work, but more important now is to see whether the delay has a bearable reason,” Mr Gatete said.
Medard Kalemani, Tanzania’s Minister, who also chairs the Rusumo power project council said though the construction had progressed compared with the contractor continues to disappoint them.
“We will not be able to have the electricity in February next year as it was planned,” said Mr Kalimani. Mr Protulipac cited hitches in design and engineering as well as factors beyond their control.
“The reasons for failing to deliver the project on time is due to delays in engineering/design of embankment dam as well as adverse weather experienced in the last quarter, which has affected progress,” added Mr Protulipac.
“We are seeking for an extension of more 12 months to be able to deliver the Rusumo power project to the owners, otherwise where we are today, we cannot manage to deliver it on the agreed completion period,” he said.
The projected lifespan of the Rusumo electric power dam is 100 years, but engineering experts warn that unless the contractor adheres to all quality assurance parameters, the dam may not last that long.
The total cost of the project is $468.6 million and it is being funded by the three governments together with the support from the World Bank and African Development Bank.