GSA negotiates fixed-rate power contract for federal agencies

CHICAGO, Ill., Feb. 8, 2002 — The U.S. General Services Administration has negotiated a contract with Exelon Corporation that will give six Chicago-area federal agencies a savings of more than $2.2 million in electricity costs and require Exelon to deliver part of the service in power from renewable energy resources.

The contract, covering a 44-month period beginning May 2002, is part of a nationwide GSA effort to reduce and stabilize federal agencies’ energy costs while curbing the environmental impact of energy consumption. GSA is a federal procurement and property management agency created by Congress to improve government efficiency and help federal agencies better serve the public.

Joining GSA in the contract are the Department of Veterans Affairs, Social Security Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, Railroad Retirement Board and Bureau of Prisons. The service will cover 36 office buildings and other facilities that GSA and the other five agencies operate in the Chicago area.

GSA Regional Administrator James C. Handley hailed the contract as “an example of using the government’s bulk buying power for a result that benefits the taxpayer and also the environment.”

“It means the agencies will pay about 6 percent less than previous rates and at a fixed price instead of fluctuations of a deregulated market,” Handley said. “And the environmental provisions mean a significant amount of the agencies’ power usage will be with cleaner energy.”

Exelon will deliver the federal facilities an electrical load of about 50 megawatts, approximately equivalent to the annual energy consumption of 50,000 homes. The GSA contract requires that 1 percent of the power be from renewable resources, such as wind generators and solar panels. Another 25 percent will be from gas-fired and nuclear power stations, sources considered “environmentally preferred” over coal-fired generators.

Larry Lewis, utility specialist with GSA’s Energy Center of Expertise, estimates that the contract’s environmental provisions will result in a reduction of 961,000 tons of greenhouse gases being discharged into the atmosphere.

“In the past, power from renewable resources has cost us more,” Lewis said. “This contract will be the first time GSA will be getting renewable energy at competitive prices. We take that as an important step forward.”

In addition to forming aggregate energy contracts, the GSA Energy Center of Expertise assists federal clients in managing their natural gas and electricity needs.

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