Officials were negligent in approving construction of a power plant, resulting in higher bills for consumers, according to Legco's Public Accounts Committee. The decision is the preliminary finding of an inquiry by the committee into claims by the Audit Commission that CLP Power, formerly China Light & Power, had overcharged consumers by $3.4 billion as a result of surplus power capacity. The committee will now consider whether to single out Chief Secretary for Administration Anson Chan Fang On-sang, who as secretary for economic services was responsible for power when the plant was approved, for criticism. She has been accused by some legislators of misleading the Executive Council into approving the Black Point power station in 1992. It is understood the first draft of the committee's report says members expressed 'serious dismay' and 'strong dissatisfaction' about the decision. The Audit Commission found that the company had overestimated demand for electricity and the plant should not have been built. 'The Government has been negligent,' a source said. Members were told at a committee hearing on October 4 that Exco was told maximum growth in demand for would be 7.6 per cent, but had not been given low-growth forecasts. The 'low-growth' forecast by CLP was 5.3 per cent. Actual growth was 3.3 per cent. At a closed door meeting yesterday, the committee studied documents submitted by the Economic Services Bureau on negotiations between the then economic services branch and CLP. They showed the branch's deputy secretary or Anson Chan, who was secretary, had not attended. The committee agreed with the Audit Commission's finding that the power company had over-charged consumers as a result of the inaccurate forecasts. CLP Power has repeatedly denied the claim.