B-172634, JUL 19, 1971

B-172634: Jul 19, 1971

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DETERMINATIONS REGARDING RESPONSIBILITY ARE BY THEIR NATURE MATTERS OF JUDGEMENT. WHERE BIDDERS WERE REQUIRED TO FURNISH INFORMATION WHICH SHOWED THAT THE BIDDER HAD EXPERIENCE IN FURNISHING "A SYSTEM OR SYSTEMS CLOSELY COMPARABLE IN COMPLEXITY TO THE EQUIPMENT PROPOSED. TO METRIC SYSTEMS CORPORATION: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 16. ON THE GROUND THAT METRIC WAS NOT A RESPONSIBLE BIDDER. METRIC'S WAS SECOND LOW AND IN LINE FOR AWARD WHEN THE LOW BID WAS REJECTED AS NONRESPONSIVE. WAS REJECTED ON THE GROUND THAT NO AFFIRMATIVE DETERMINATION OF RESPONSIBILITY COULD BE MADE WITH RESPECT TO IT. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER STATED THAT SUCH A DETERMINATION WAS NOT POSSIBLE BECAUSE: " ***THE EXPERIENCE LISTED BY METRIC IS RELATED TO SUPERVISORY CONTROL SYSTEMS ONLY TO THE EXTENT IT HAS MANUFACTURED COMPONENTS THEREOF SUCH AS TELEMETERING EQUIPMENT.

B-172634, JUL 19, 1971

BID PROTEST - BID RESPONSIVENESS - EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENT DECISION DENYING PROTEST BY SECOND LOW BIDDER AGAINST REJECTION OF A BID AS NONRESPONSIVE UNDER AN IFB ISSUED BY THE BONNEVILLE POWER ADMINISTRATION FOR A QUANTITY OF SUPERVISORY CONTROL SYSTEMS. DETERMINATIONS REGARDING RESPONSIBILITY ARE BY THEIR NATURE MATTERS OF JUDGEMENT, AND WHERE BIDDERS WERE REQUIRED TO FURNISH INFORMATION WHICH SHOWED THAT THE BIDDER HAD EXPERIENCE IN FURNISHING "A SYSTEM OR SYSTEMS CLOSELY COMPARABLE IN COMPLEXITY TO THE EQUIPMENT PROPOSED," PROTESTANT'S FAILURE TO DO SO, TO THE SATISFACTION OF THE PROCURING ACTIVITY, PROPERLY RESULTED IN THE REJECTION OF ITS BID.

TO METRIC SYSTEMS CORPORATION:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 16, 1971, WITH ENCLOSURES, PROTESTING AGAINST THE REJECTION OF YOUR BID UNDER INVITATION FOR BIDS (IFB) NO. 1259, ISSUED BY THE BONNEVILLE POWER ADMINISTRATION (BPA), ON THE GROUND THAT METRIC WAS NOT A RESPONSIBLE BIDDER.

THE SUBJECT IFB SOLICITED BIDS ON A QUANTITY OF SUPERVISORY CONTROL SYSTEMS. OF THE SIX BIDS RECEIVED, METRIC'S WAS SECOND LOW AND IN LINE FOR AWARD WHEN THE LOW BID WAS REJECTED AS NONRESPONSIVE. THE BID OF METRIC, HOWEVER, WAS REJECTED ON THE GROUND THAT NO AFFIRMATIVE DETERMINATION OF RESPONSIBILITY COULD BE MADE WITH RESPECT TO IT. IN THIS REGARD, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER STATED THAT SUCH A DETERMINATION WAS NOT POSSIBLE BECAUSE:

" ***THE EXPERIENCE LISTED BY METRIC IS RELATED TO SUPERVISORY CONTROL SYSTEMS ONLY TO THE EXTENT IT HAS MANUFACTURED COMPONENTS THEREOF SUCH AS TELEMETERING EQUIPMENT. THERE WAS NO LISTING OF A COMPLETE SUPERVISORY SYSTEM WHICH WAS COMPARABLE TO THE SYSTEM BEING PROCURED.

"METRIC DID NOT IN ANY WAY DEMONSTRATE THAT IT HAD MANUFACTURED EQUIPMENT WHICH WAS CAPABLE OF FUNCTIONING PROPERLY IN A POWER UTILITY ENVIRONMENT. SUPERVISORY CONTROL EQUIPMENT MUST BE CAPABLE OF FUNCTIONING PROPERLY UNDER EXTREMELY HIGH ELECTRICAL NOISE CONDITIONS AND THOSE CONDITIONS ARE INTENSIFIED WHEN A FAULT OCCURS. THUS, EQUIPMENT MAY FUNCTION SATISFACTORILY UNDER NORMAL CONDITIONS ONLY TO FAIL WHEN IT IS NEEDED.

"BPA PERFORMANCE HISTORY WITH THE EQUIPMENT OF OTHER MANUFACTURERS CLEARLY INDICATES THAT PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH THE POWER SYSTEM ENVIRONMENT ARE NOT SIMPLE TO OVERCOME. EVEN COMPANIES WHICH HAVE PLAYED AN IMPORTANT PART IN THE MANNED LUNAR LANDING PROJECT HAVE BEEN UNABLE ON THEIR INITIAL ATTEMPT TO DELIVER EQUIPMENT WHICH CONFORMED TO THE SPECIFICATIONS. ONE SUCH COMPANY WAS TWO YEARS LATE IN DELIVERY ON A BPA CONTRACT AND ANOTHER IS NOW IN THE PROCESS OF COMPLETELY REDESIGNING THE SYSTEM ORIGINALLY DELIVERED. METRIC GIVES NO INDICATION BY ITS EXPERIENCE THAT IT UNDERSTANDS THE KIND OF PROBLEMS WHICH CAUSED OTHER COMPANIES TO FAIL AND HAS NOT DEMONSTRATED A CAPABILITY FOR MANUFACTURING A SUPERVISORY CONTROL SYSTEM IN A POWER SYSTEM ENVIRONMENT."

THE IFB ADVISED BIDDERS THAT SINCE THE ITEMS BEING PROCURED COULD AFFECT THE SAFETY, EFFICIENCY OR RELIABILITY OF BPA'S ELECTRIC POWER TRANSMISSION SYSTEM, AWARD WOULD BE MADE ONLY TO A BIDDER WHO HAD SATISFACTORILY DEMONSTRATED TO BPA ITS ABILITY TO FURNISH THE REQUIRED ITEMS. IN THIS CONNECTION, BIDDERS WERE REQUIRED TO FURNISH WITH THEIR BIDS INFORMATION WHICH SHOWED THAT THE BIDDER HAD EXPERIENCE IN FURNISHING "A SYSTEM OR SYSTEMS CLOSELY COMPARABLE IN COMPLEXITY TO THE EQUIPMENT PROPOSED."

IT APPEARS CLEAR FROM THE FOREGOING COMMENTS OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER THAT THE DETERMINATION THAT METRIC WAS NOT A RESPONSIBLE BIDDER WAS PREMISED ON METRIC'S FAILURE TO SHOW EXPERIENCE WITH SYSTEMS OF SIMILAR COMPLEXITY TO THAT BEING PROCURED. THE EVIDENCE OF RECORD DOES NOT INDICATE THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ACTED ARBITRARILY OR IN BAD FAITH IN ARRIVING AT THE DETERMINATION. DETERMINATIONS REGARDING RESPONSIBILITY ARE BY THEIR NATURE MATTERS OF JUDGMENT. THEREFORE, ALTHOUGH YOU MAY DISAGREE WITH THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S DETERMINATION THAT YOUR COMPANY HAS NOT HAD EXPERIENCE IN FURNISHING A SYSTEM CLOSELY COMPARABLE IN COMPLEXITY TO THE SYSTEM, BEING PROCURED, THERE IS IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES NO BASIS FOR A LEGAL OBJECTION BY OUR OFFICE TO THE REJECTION OF THE BID.

ACCORDINGLY, THE PROTEST IS DENIED.