Accion: procedures could have been better, but Xcel RFP had fair results

Accion Group, picked by the Colorado Public Utility Commission to serve as the Independent Evaluator (IE) for Public Service Co. of Colorado’s 2013 All‐Source Solicitation Request for Proposal (RFP), has found no issues with how that process was conducted.

Filed with the commission on Oct. 11 was a final Accion report, dated Oct. 9 and heavily redacted, on the RFP process.

PSCo, an operating subsidiary of Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL), issued three RFPs simultaneously as part of a 2011 Electric Resource Plan. The three RFPs, collectively referred to as the PSCO 2013 All‐Source Solicitation, were: the 2013 Dispatchable Resources RFP, the 2013 Renewable Resources RFP and the 2013 Semi‐Dispatchable Renewable Capacity Resources RFP.

The Oct. 9 final report reviews the entire All Source RFP process, including the release of the RFPs, receipt of bids and the evaluation of bids. The IE had filed an initial report on June 11.

Accion was engaged after the so‐called “Phase 1” portion of the proceeding, during which the scope of the RFP and the role of the IE was determined. Accordingly, it was not involved in fashioning the RFP, defining the role of the IE, or drafting of the RFP documents.

Accion: ‘on the fly’ process created some issues

“The IE believes PSCo dedicated the necessary resources to the evaluation process,” said the Oct. 9 report. “The duration of evaluation was due to the complexity of identifying the best offers for this system. PSCo attempted to create an information system that provided for easy exchange of information and access to Bid information for authorized individuals, including the IE. The IE notes that the process devised by PSCo for the sharing of information was still under development as the RFP process was underway and continued until June 7, 2013, with continued refinement throughout the process.”

Accion added: “While the IE is unaware of any instance where the information retention and sharing process adversely affected the evaluation process, the IE is unable to attest that the process was error free. The IE believes that, ultimately, PSCo made available all evaluation information, including all email exchanges with Bidders, though some exchanges were provided after the fact as ‘bundled’ collections of emails. The IE does not ascribe a nefarious motive of an attempt to mislead on the part of PSCo personnel. Rather, PSCo attempted to create ‘on‐the‐fly’ a process for managing the RFP data, which resulted in delays, as the process failed to meet design expectations.”

The IE reviewed the evaluation modeling before any bids were received, and performed “Mock Bids” to confirm the model performed as intended. As discussed in the June 11 initial report, errors were discovered and corrected during the evaluation process.

As discussed in an IE report dated Sept. 23, the IE remains skeptical that the curtailment factor employed by PSCo (1%) adequately captures the risk and, in turn, overstates the value of wind bids.

“The IE is unaware of PSCo exercising bias towards or against any Bidder,” Accion wrote. “PSCo personnel responded to every question posed by the IE, and over time a process for weekly status conference calls was established to foster a better relationship. PSCo personnel were available to the IE Team upon request and in every instance provided requested information. Accion regrets the failure to create an environment where the IE was accepted as a participant with a shared goal of ensuring a fair and transparent process, but accepts PSCo personnel made best efforts to provide all requested information.”

The IE believes the RFP process was conducted fairly, with all bidders having access to the necessary information at the same time. Accion believes the transmission assessment was appropriate and allocated costs were appropriate and the PSCo personnel were thorough and cooperative throughout the IE’s review of transmission issues. Similarly, the evaluation modeling employed by PSCo was thoroughly reviewed by the IE, as were the ranked portfolios identified by PSCO, and the IE agrees that the portfolios were properly selected.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.