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‘New’ generator delivered to north is actually 25 years old

Kalecik power plant, near the village of Gastria
Kalecik power plant, near the village of Gastria

A “new” electricity generator delivered to the north by Turkish energy company Aksa is actually 25 years old, it has been claimed.

The generator is due to be installed at the Aksa-owned Kalecik power station in Gastria within the scope of a contract signed with the north’s electricity authority Kib-Tek.

Both the Cyprus Turkish Chamber of Mechanical Engineers chairman Ayer Yarkiner and the Kib-Tek’s workers’ trade union (El-Sen) leader Ahmet Tugcu have made the claim in recent days.

Yarkiner urged Kib-Tek to not accept delivery of the generator.

“Information was given to the press that the generator has a capacity of 17.5 megawatts and is new. When it was inspected, it turned out it is not new and does not have a capacity of 17.5 megawatts,” he said.

“The generator should be rejected by Kib-Tek’s board of directors. If it is rejected, there will be no problem with capacity.”

Ahmet Tugcu agreed with Yarkiner’s assessment of the generator’s age and capacity, while also casting doubt on the number of hours it was claimed the generator had worked prior to being sent to Cyprus.

Aksa says the generator has 51,000 hours of work on its clock so far, but Tugcu told Kibris Postasi that figure had been “manipulated”.

“If a generator at the Teknecik power station (near Kyrenia), which has been used since 2007, has worked for 60,000 hours, how can it be possible for a generator built in 1999 to have only worked for 51,000 hours?” he asked.

The news surrounding the generator has surfaced days after Kib-Tek took out a 1 billion TL (€30.6 million) loan with an interest rate of 49 per cent to service its debts to Aksa.

Tugcu accused Aksa’s chairman of the board Cemil Kazanci of carrying out a “raid” on his short trip to Cyprus, during which he convinced Kib-Tek to take out a loan to pay their debt.

He also accused the ‘government’ of creating “wilful chaos” in the field of energy.

Additionally, he pointed to the fact that Kib-Tek is legally bound by the contract to purchase energy from Aksa as the underlying reason behind the north’s lack of progress towards renewable energy and its rising electricity costs.

“With this contract, while alternative energy investments such as solar power or wind power are being blocked, the conditions for energy purchases in foreign currency have been made harsher and our people have been condemned to even higher electricity costs,” he said.

Yarkiner echoed Tugcu’s comments on electricity prices, saying “the Turkish Cypriot people are paying twice the price for [generator] fuel and 20 times the price for [the power station’s rent].”

He went further, saying that those who signed the contract and the ‘ministers’ who signed off on it “must prove before the judiciary that what they signed was in accordance with the public interest”.

The issue of potential unnecessary extra expenditure brought about by the new Kalecik contract was also highlighted by former Kib-Tek vice chairman Yusuf Avcioglu.

He pointed out that the new stipulations set out by the new contract, including among other things that the Turkish lira to United States dollar exchange rate be calculated as per the day of payment rather than the day of invoice, had added an extra 40 million TL (€1.2m).

This figure would raise eyebrows, especially given that Aksa’s side of the bargain was supposed to be the purchase of new generators to increase Kalecik’s capacity by 35 megawatts.

The situation has not escaped the attention of the political sphere, either, with opposition party CTP ‘MP’ Devrim Barcin telling Kibris Postasi TV that Kib-Tek “is being run like a farm”.

“I have seen better run corner shops. At least they have books with their incomings and outgoings.”

He also pointed out that interest rates for consumer loans in the north is currently set at 46 per cent and asked how Kib-Tek managed to acquire a loan at a less favourable rate than an ordinary consumer.

He also criticised Aksa for bringing to Cyprus generators “which are not in compliance with the signed contract” and accused them of “using the TRNC as a back yard in which they carry out their dirty work, and taking advantage of us because we are not recognised.”

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