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Rio Olympic power in doubt

Temporary power supplier Aggreko has pulled out of a tender to provide generators to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro next year

By Stephen Eisenhammer

Temporary power supplier Aggreko has pulled out of a tender to provide generators to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro next year, the spokesman for Rio 2016 told Reuters, dealing a major blow to organisers rushing to secure an energy source for the world’s largest sporting event.

The temporary power contract is a vital part of Olympic preparations, guaranteeing a stable and secure energy supply for international broadcasters, the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as back-up electricity for the venues.

The most experienced bidder pulling out on such a crucial contract is a worrying sign for Olympic organisers who are under huge pressure to cut spending as Brazil languishes in its worst recession in 25 years. The government has already warned that there is no money to cover any cost overruns.

Aggreko did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Aggreko has been involved in nine Olympics and six World Cups, providing power to the 2012 summer games in London and the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Rio 2016 spokesman Mario Andrada told Reuters he was comfortable with the companies still competing for the tender, the winner of which will be passed to the board for approval on Tuesday.

Two other sources with knowledge of the tender said they doubted any other temporary power supplier had the in-country capacity and Olympic experience to fully meet the needs of the contract. It is likely that whoever wins would have to lease generators from Aggreko, they said.

It is unclear why Aggreko pulled its tender, but the sources said they thought the Glasgow-based firm had tired of negotiations that have been going on for two years, as well as constant changes in both the scope of the tender and who would be paying – the government or organising committee.

Organisers are cutting it close. For London 2012, the winner of the power contract was announced 20 months before the games started. The August 5 to August 21 games in Rio are just eight months away.

In 2012, the company’s pre-tax profits surged 11 per cent, helped by its London Olympic contract. Aggreko provided London 2012 with 550 generator sets, 1,500 kilometres of cable and 5,500 distribution panels across 39 venues.

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