CLP Telecommunications has pushed back by a few months a mid-year target for operation of its ChinaLink project because of Government questions about how profit would benefit customers of associated company CLP Power, according to sources. The company, which in February received a letter of intent that will pave the way for an external facilities licence, must now get Government approval to wrap fibre-optic cable around CLP Power lines that extend to Shenzhen from Kowloon. According to the scheme of control agreement with the government, CLP Power can realise a return on its power assets of not more than 15 per cent. Also, assets governed by the accord cannot be used for purposes other than supplying electricity in Hong Kong without approval. CLP Telecommunications plans to sell capacity to telecoms operators but sources said the Economic Services Bureau was concerned about how the business would benefit CLP Power's customers. The bureau also had questions about whether electricity supply would be affected, the sources said. CLP Telecommunications and CLP Power are wholly owned by CLP Holdings. A CLP Holdings spokesman declined to comment on details of discussions with the bureau. However, she said the company was confident its telecoms arm would be able to launch the project this year. CLP Telecommunications had hoped for quick approval of its ChinaLink plan. However, bureau officials are proceeding cautiously because this is the first time they have had to rule on assets of a Hong Kong power company being used for non-electricity related purposes, the sources said. Nonetheless, the bureau does grant exceptions to its schemes of control agreements, as it allows CLP Power to sell electricity to the mainland. In this exception, profit generated from the mainland is split and customers receive 80 per cent while shareholders receive the remainder. But Government officials do not believe this ratio should be used for a totally different business such as CLP Telecommunications, the sources said. Analysts said the company may be overly optimistic in its intention to have the ChinaLink project operational by the end of the year.