CLP Power will include its controversial liquefied natural gas processing plant project in an expanded spending list totalling at least HK$38 billion in the next five years, a company representative says. The utility and the city's other power firm, Hongkong Electric, were allowed a return of up 13.5 to 15 per cent on investments in fixed assets. But this has just been cut to 9.99 per cent. In its last investment plan, CLP Power was allowed to spend HK$23.8 billion up to the end of September. Andrew Brandler, managing director of the utility's parent CLP Holdings, said the new spending list would include about HK$6 billion of investment in power transmission and distribution equipment in each of the next five years, and an unstated amount to retrofit emission-control facilities at its Castle Peak coal-fired plant in Tuen Mun. It will also include the LNG project on South Soko Island, south of Lantau, estimated to cost HK$8 billion at 2006 prices. Mr Brandler said the plan would be submitted for government approval within two weeks. 'On top of regular investment ... the LNG project has a big chunk of it,' Mr Brandler said at the opening of CLP's power plant in Fangchenggang , Guangxi . CLP Power is still battling for the government's final approval of the LNG project. Green groups have criticised the plan on ecological grounds, arguing it might jeopardise fish and dolphin populations. The company insists on building its own LNG processing plant to replace its depleting fuel supply from Hainan and feed the need of its Black Point gas-fired plant in Tuen Mun. The government has argued for other options, such as sourcing the fuel from Zhuhai . Some lawmakers are worried that the LNG project will inflate the bills of consumers in Kowloon, New Territories and Lantau, CLP's service areas, as its earnings are based on its asset base, and fuel costs are passed on to consumers. The new regime, promising tariff cuts of 10 per cent, will take effect for CLP Power on October 1, and on January 1 for Hongkong Electric. Democratic Party legislator Fred Li Wah-ming urged the government to consider whether the LNG terminal should be built. 'We just fear that the LNG project will boost the company's asset base, causing tariff rises and putting an end to the honeymoon of tariff cuts next year,' he said, pointing to the latest market estimate of the LNG project costing as much as HK$10 billion. Mr Brandler said: 'The government is conducting due diligence on the project to convince themselves there is an alternative to the LNG processing plant. But there isn't.'