Monday, 14 October 2013

Konrad the magician

My DNA is structured so that when I hear something that is too good to be true than my face-value assumption is that it is not true and I demand from the proponent an additional dose of verification to prove their case.

Minister asks Police to investigate fuel procurement processThat was my first reaction when in a small focus group we were addressed by Konrad Mizzi with an outline of PL's proposal for a new energy policy which will deliver reduced tariffs, reduction in Enemalta's debt, operating efficiency and protection of jobs.   And all this without any investment on the part of government as the PPP project will be fully funded by the private partner who will put money up front to deliver in advance the goodies that consumers need to lighten up their utility consumption expenditure.

I remember grilling Konrad from different aspects of the proposal but impressively he always had all the answers, confidence and assurances to the point that in the end the energy proposal was adopted as the key deliverable in PL's electoral manifesto that was so overwhelmingly approved by the electorate last March.

I must admit too that a lingering doubt always remained, knowing that the project had substantial execution risks.  Improper execution could ruin the best of plans.

But here we are barely 7 months after he took over his Ministry, Konrad has delivered beyond my, and I would say anybody's expectations.   He has proven beyond doubt that his plan had been well conceived , thought of, sequenced and will no doubt be properly executed now that the risks are diminished once the choice of the winning consortium has been made and the execution passes over mainly to the private partner's side of the fence.

And for those who have nothing to criticise but the fact that the price at which the private partner will sell energy to Enemalta from the new gas plant has been fixed only for 5 years they should first familiarise themselves with the technologies being made in gas exploration, especially in the US through fracking methods.   It would be very risky to fix gas prices for the very long term given that these advances in technologies could in the long term deliver much cheaper gas prices.  Five years is as much as any serious risk manager would counsel to hedge gas prices in current circumstances.

Well done Konrad.

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