The Pella City Council approved a resolution during last week’s regular meeting Approving Plans, Specifications, Form of Contract, Estimate of Costs, Receiving Bids and Making Award of Construction Contract for the West Generating Plant Control System Upgrade Project to Eagle Electric Inc., of Pella, in the amount of $566,000.
The West Diesel Plant was constructed in 2002 and is comprised of fourteen 2 MW generator sets and associated switchgear. Each generator has a programmable logic controller (PLC) to automate operations, which are beginning to fail and are now obsolete. The Control System Upgrade Project will modernize the existing control system by replacing the system, which is to include fully automated plant-wide synchronization and load sharing capabilities. In addition, the upgrade involves reconfiguring how the units operate. When constructed in 2002, the plant was configured to provide black start capability with the coal plant if it were to go off-line. This configuration is no longer applicable and presents several operating restrictions that need to be corrected. Additionally, the upgrades will allow the City to meet the requirements of the Dedicated Capacity Agreement with Missouri River Energy Services for connection to their Wide Area Network for dispatching and scheduling of member owned generating units.
Subsequent to Council’s approval for seeking bids on July 16, 2013-legal counsel has reviewed this project and believes this project is an equipment purchase and installation rather than a public improvement as defined under state code. As a result, this project falls under the City’s Purchasing Policy as a Service/Supplies, Vehicles, or Equipment purchase whereby three sealed bids are requested, and with approval, an invoice is processed for the abstract of bills. The bidding process used for this project closely resembles the public improvement process; however, in lieu of publishing the invitation to bidders, bid notices were sent directly to ten prospective bidders and a project notice was made publicly available on the Engineer’s (DGR) website. In addition, the plans were downloaded and distributed to two national construction plan centers which were used to notify contractors about the project. Overall, fourteen sets of plans were distributed by DGR to contractors and construction plan centers. On July 30, 2013, a bid opening was held for this project.