Business & Finance

Low Bidder Reneges at Hunterdon County Electric Auction

Freeholders voting at the auction were (from left) John King, Matt Holt, John Lanza and Suzanne Lagay. Credits: Curtis Leeds / TAPinto Flemington-Raritan file photo

FLEMINGTON, NJ –The Hunterdon County Freeholders will vote today, Tuesday, to reaffirm their acceptance of the county’s electric supply service contract.

But the contract won’t be with the company that offered the lowest bid.

The county sought the bids in a reverse auction held over the Internet on Aug. 22. It was the first time the county held such an auction, which was conducted by EMEX (Energy Market Exchange) of Houston, a vendor approved by the state Department of Community Affairs. The auction allows various state-approved electric suppliers to compete on price for electric power supply.

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Texas-based Source Power and Gas submitted the low bid at .072 per kilowatt hour, according to county Administrator Kevin Davis.

But Freeholder John King said Source Power and Gas backed out of the offer after the auction ended,  citing a “material defect.” After meeting with the county attorney in closed session, the freeholders decided to accept the next-lowest bid. King said freeholders were told seeking recourse against Source Power and Gas wouldn’t be worth the expense.

That means Great Eastern Energy will likely be awarded the contract. It was the second-lowest bidder and at .07408 per kilowatt hour, the price is about 2.89 percent higher than the Source Power and Gas offer.

Great Eastern Energy is a gas and electric supplier serving New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

The contract is for only electric supply service, which Davis said is about 80 percent of the bill. JCP&L remains the distributor at a cost set by the state.

 The county will still realize savings under the contract. According to Davis, it’s currently paying JCP&L .09338 per kilowatt hour.

In a press release, county officials said the county will save nearly $300,000 in electric costs over the two-year contract period.

The county’s currently spends about $714,710 a year for electricity which – based on the county’s usage history – will be reduced to a projected annual cost of about $568,000, the release states.  

 “This is a major budget savings,” said Freeholder Director John E. Lanza. “Homeowners and tax paying businesses are the winners of this auction.”

“Finding innovative ways to reduce costs is a key to our goal of keeping spending in check,” said Freeholder Suzanne Lagay. “I congratulate and thank Purchasing Director Ray Rule for bringing this opportunity forward for consideration.”

Today's freeholder vote will be taken at their meeting held in the Freeholder Meeting Room, which is located in the county Administration Building at 71 Main St. here. The public portion o fthe meeting is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m.

Freeholder Rob Walton has recused himself from participating in the process because he works for JCP&L, a potential participant in the auction.

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