STP-25: Our understanding is that the Procurement Administrator must notify a Bidder of selected Winning Bids by 6PM (CST) on Tuesday, April 26, 2016. Does that mean that if such notification has not occurred by that time then all Bids become non-binding?

The Standard Products RFP Rules do not state that the Procurement Administrator must notify a Bidder of selected Winning Bids by 6PM on Tuesday, April 26, 2016.  Paragraphs VI.1.23 and VI.2.10 of the Standard Products RFP Rules state that: “The Procurement Administrator expects to notify a Bidder that had Bids in a procurement event that were evaluated whether any of the Bidder’s Bids will be identified as ‘winning Bids’ to the ICC by 6 PM on the Bid Date. Such notification is made earlier to the extent practicable or may be made on the next business day as circumstances warrant.”  (emphasis added)

As you may be aware, no such notification prior to Commission approval is required by the Public Utilities Act; instead, Section 16-111.5(e) of the Act states that the Procurement Administrator has an obligation to provide the Illinois Commerce Commission with a report that includes the identification of the winning Bids within two (2) business days of receipt of the Bids.  Due to the timing of that obligation, the Procurement Administrator expects that, under normal circumstances, it would be in a position to advise Bidders of whether their Bids have been identified as winning Bids just prior to submittal of that the report.  For this reason, possible notification of Bidders by 6 PM CPT on Tuesday is contemplated within the Standard Products RFP Rules (and as you know, winning Bids are subject to acceptance by the Commission and only lead to a contract with the applicable utility upon such acceptance being secured).   For the avoidance of doubt, for purposes of processing Proposals, close of business is 6 PM Central Prevailing Time (which is currently daylight saving time, and not standard time).

The Standard Products RFP Rules do not link the notification by the Procurement Administrator that a Bidder has winning Bids (as identified by the Procurement Administrator prior to Commission approval) with the length of time that the Bids are binding.  Indeed, the Standard Products RFP Rules instead state that in all circumstances the Bidder’s Bids on any Product or Combination is binding until nine (9) business days after the Bid Date.  Each Bidder must certify its agreement with this timing as provided in Paragraph V.3.5 of the Standard Products RFP Rules.  The officer named in your Proposal has made this certification and thus has agreed to this timing on behalf of the Bidder.  The individual who will be submitting Bids will also signify his/her agreement with this provision, which is included as a certification in the Bid Form.  The consequences of not abiding by the certification that you have already made may include, and are not limited to, that payment may be demanded on your pre-bid letter of credit for making a material misrepresentation in your Part 2 Proposal.  The consequence of not making the required certification that appears on the Bid Form is that your Bid Form will be deficient and your Bids will not be evaluated.