143-64.17A. Solicitation of guaranteed energy savings contracts.

(a) RFP Issuance. - Before entering into a guaranteed energy savings contract, a governmental unit shall issue a request for proposals. Notice of the request shall be published at least 15 days in advance of the time specified for opening of the proposals in at least one newspaper of general circulation in the geographic area for which the local governmental unit is responsible or, in the case of a State governmental unit, in which the facility or facilities are located. No guaranteed energy savings contract shall be awarded by any governmental unit unless at least two proposals have been received from qualified providers. Provided that if after the publication of the notice of the request for proposals, fewer than two proposals have been received from qualified providers, or fewer than two qualified providers attend the mandatory prebid meeting, the governmental unit may then open the proposals and select a qualified provider even if only one proposal is received.

(b) Preliminary Proposal Evaluation. - The governmental unit shall evaluate a sealed proposal from any qualified provider. A qualified reviewer shall be required to evaluate the proposals and will provide the governmental unit with a letter report containing both qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the proposals. The report may include a recommendation for selection, but the governmental unit is not obligated to follow it.

(c) Receipt of Proposals for Unit of Local Government. - In the case of a local governmental unit, proposals received pursuant to this section shall be opened by a member or an employee of the governing body of the local governmental unit at a public opening at which the contents of the proposals shall be announced and recorded in the minutes of the governing body. Proposals shall be evaluated for the local governmental unit by a qualified reviewer on the basis of:

(1) The information required in subsection (b) of this section; and

(2) The criteria stated in the request for proposals.

The local governmental unit may require a qualified provider to include in calculating the cost of a proposal for a guaranteed energy savings contract any reasonable fee payable by the local governmental unit for the evaluation of the proposal by a qualified reviewer not employed as a member of the staff of the local governmental unit or the qualified provider.

(c1) Receipt of Proposals for Unit of State Government. - In the case of a State governmental unit, proposals received pursuant to this section shall be opened by a member or an employee of the State governmental unit at a public opening and the contents of the proposals shall be announced at this opening. Proposals shall be evaluated for the State governmental unit by a qualified reviewer who is either privately retained, employed with the Department of Administration, or employed as a member of the staff of the State governmental unit. The proposal shall be evaluated on the basis of the information and report required in subsection (b) of this section and the criteria stated in the request for proposals.

The State governmental unit shall require a qualified provider to include in calculating the cost of a proposal for a guaranteed energy savings contract any reasonable fee payable by the State governmental unit for evaluation of the proposal by a qualified reviewer not employed as a member of the staff of the State governmental unit or the qualified provider. The Department of Administration may charge the State governmental unit a reasonable fee for the evaluation of the proposal if the Department's services are used for the evaluation and the cost paid by the State governmental unit to the Department of Administration shall be calculated in the cost of the proposal under this subsection.

(d) Criteria for Selection of Provider. - The governmental unit shall select the qualified provider that it determines to best meet the needs of the governmental unit by evaluating all of the following and following the procedures set forth in subsection (d1) of this section:

(1), (2) Repealed by Session Laws 2013-396, s. 2, effective August 23, 2013.

(3) Quality of the products and energy conservation measures proposed.

(4) Repealed by Session Laws 2013-396, s. 2, effective August 23, 2013.

(5) General reputation and performance capabilities of the qualified providers.

(6) Substantial conformity with the specifications and other conditions set forth in the request for proposals.

(7) Time specified in the proposals for the performance of the contract.

(8) Any other factors the governmental unit deems necessary, which factors shall be made a matter of record.

(d1) Process for Selection of Provider. - The governmental unit shall select a short list of finalists on the basis of its rankings of the written proposals under the criteria set forth in subsection (d) of this section as well as references from past clients. The governmental unit shall have the highest ranked qualified provider prepare a cost-savings analysis for the proposed contract showing at a minimum a comparison of the total estimated project savings to the total estimated project costs for the proposed term. If the governmental unit and the qualified provider cannot negotiate acceptable terms, pricing, and savings estimates, the governmental unit may terminate the process and begin negotiations with the second highest ranked qualified provider. The State Energy Office shall review the selected qualified provider's proposal, cost-benefit analysis, and other relevant documents prior to the governmental unit announcing the award.

(e) Nothing in this section shall limit the authority of governmental units as set forth in Article 3D of this Chapter. (1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 775, s. 3; 2002-161, s. 3; 2013-396, s. 2.)