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EPM submits defense in 2.4-GW Ituango hydro project probe

Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM) has submitted its defense against claims of administrative irregularities related to its troubled 2.4-GW Ituango hydro project, according to BNamericas. In a securities filing, EPM said it presented its case to public services watchdog Superservicios, without providing further details.

Located about 170 km northeast of Medellin, Ituango is Colombia’s largest infrastructure project in investment terms. The facility is expected to supply over 17% of the country’s electricity when fully operational.

Serious construction problems forced EPM to postpone Ituango’s operational startup to early 2022, more than three years later than originally planned. Initially budgeted at about 11.4 trillion pesos, the cost of what is Colombia’s largest infrastructure project is now estimated at 16.2 trillion (US$4.3 billion) in a best-case scenario, representing a cost overrun of at least US$1.2 billion.

Medellín mayor Daniel Quintero has warned that EPM could be forced to hold a new tender to complete the hydro project’s construction.

In September, EPM announced plans for legal proceedings to claim damages of 9.9 trillion pesos (US$2.7 billion) for alleged errors and negligence by builders, designers and auditors.

Such a scenario — which could be avoided through an ongoing arbitration process — would leave the company with no option but to sever ties with Consorcio Generación Ituango (Integral Ingeniería de Consulta and Investigaciones Geotécnicas Solingral), the CCC Ituango consortium (Construções e Comércio Camargo Corrêa, Conconcreto and Coninsa Ramón H) and the Ingetec and Sedic consortium, Quintero said.