The University of Maine announced Thursday it has chosen a different supplier to negotiate for a lucrative energy contract after a controversial bidder withdrew.
The university will negotiate with Honeywell International, which had the second-highest score on the University of Maine Energy Solutions bid to supply energy to UMaine’s Orono campus.
ConEdison Solutions on Feb. 21 informed the university it was withdrawing from the bidding, citing uncertainty about its ability to lease assets in the former Expera Mill in Old Town. ConEdison said it could not provide firm pricing or deliver a plan to control the power-generating assets within the university’s timeline.
The university’s choice of ConEdison for the $100 million contract came under scrutiny in the press when the bidding process raised questions about insider influence.
“The university has now proceeded with an award to the next highest scoring respondent in keeping with a fair and transparent procurement process,” said Dan Demeritt, a spokesman for the University of Maine System.
The award grants Honeywell the right to negotiate a long-term energy supply for the university, which will then deliberate and do diligence on the proposal before sending it to its board for consideration.
“A significant component of ConEdison Solutions’ proposal was the utilization of power generating assets at the former Expera Mill in Old Town,” UMaine said in a statement. The Old Town mill was sold on Jan. 29 to a company that plans to turn it into a wood-fiber products complex with multiple tenants.
ConEdison Solutions General Manager Jack Bosch noted in his Feb. 21 withdrawal letter that the new owner of the Old Town mill is in the early stages of planning and had not determined if its plans for the mill would accommodate ConEdison’s proposed lease of the power generating assets.
The university also provided details of its solicitation and plan criteria.
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