B-171105, B-171303, MAY 14, 1971

B-171105,B-171303: May 14, 1971

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WHICH HELD THAT A SINGLE AWARD TO EXIDE WAS LOWER THAN SPLIT AWARDS TO EXIDE. BECAUSE COSTS WERE BASED ON SHIPMENTS FROM C & D'S PLANT IN INDIANA AND IT IS NOW CLEAR THAT SHIPMENTS OF ELECTROLYTE TO POINTS IN CALIFORNIA COULD HAVE ORIGINATED FROM C & D'S SANTA ROSA PLANT. CONNER & CUNEO: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED APRIL 5. WE ALSO INDICATED THAT ANOTHER $100 IN ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS MIGHT HAVE TO BE CONSIDERED IF THREE AWARDS WERE MADE. WE WERE ASKED TO RECONSIDER OUR DECISION ON THE BASIS OF AN ALLEGED ERROR IN THE METHOD USED IN COMPUTING THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION FOR ELECTROLYTE UNDER ITEM 6 (LOT II) AND ITEM 14 (LOT V). IN THE PRIOR COMPUTATIONS THIS COST WAS BASED ON SHIPMENTS FROM C & D'S PLANT IN INDIANA.

B-171105, B-171303, MAY 14, 1971

BID PROTEST - MULTIPLE AWARDS - LOWEST COST BASED ON AN ERROR USED IN THE COMPUTATION OF TRANSPORTATION COSTS, THE COMP. GEN. OVERRULES PRIOR DECISIONS B-171105, AND B-171103, FEBRUARY 23, 1971, AND MARCH 25, 1971, WHICH HELD THAT A SINGLE AWARD TO EXIDE WAS LOWER THAN SPLIT AWARDS TO EXIDE, GOULD, INC., AND C & D BATTERIES. BECAUSE COSTS WERE BASED ON SHIPMENTS FROM C & D'S PLANT IN INDIANA AND IT IS NOW CLEAR THAT SHIPMENTS OF ELECTROLYTE TO POINTS IN CALIFORNIA COULD HAVE ORIGINATED FROM C & D'S SANTA ROSA PLANT, A SPLIT AWARD WOULD RESULT IN A SAVINGS OF $653 TO THE GOVERNMENT.

TO SELLERS, CONNER & CUNEO:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED APRIL 5, 1971, WITH ENCLOSURE, ON BEHALF OF GOULD, INCORPORATED, AND C & D BATTERIES DIVISION OF ELTRA CORPORATION, REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF OUR DECISIONS OF FEBRUARY 23, 1971, AND MARCH 25, 1971, B-171105, B-171303.

IN OUR DECISION OF MARCH 25, 1971, WE STATED THAT OUR REVIEW OF THE TRANSPORTATION COSTS INVOLVED SHOWED THE SINGLE AWARD TO EXIDE TO BE $105 LOWER THAN SPLIT AWARDS TO EXIDE, GOULD, AND C & D BATTERIES. WE ALSO INDICATED THAT ANOTHER $100 IN ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS MIGHT HAVE TO BE CONSIDERED IF THREE AWARDS WERE MADE, MAKING A TOTAL OF $205 IN FAVOR OF A SINGLE AWARD.

ON APRIL 5, 1971, WE WERE ASKED TO RECONSIDER OUR DECISION ON THE BASIS OF AN ALLEGED ERROR IN THE METHOD USED IN COMPUTING THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION FOR ELECTROLYTE UNDER ITEM 6 (LOT II) AND ITEM 14 (LOT V). IN THE PRIOR COMPUTATIONS THIS COST WAS BASED ON SHIPMENTS FROM C & D'S PLANT IN INDIANA.

THE POSITION TAKEN IN C & D'S LETTER OF APRIL 5, 1971, IS THAT THE ELECTROLYTE REQUIRED TO BE SHIPPED TO DESTINATIONS IN CALIFORNIA CAN AND SHOULD BE SHIPPED FROM C & D'S PLANT IN SANTA ROSA, CALIFORNIA. IT IS TRUE THAT THE SOLICITATION REQUIRED ELECTROLYTE TO BE FURNISHED IN SEPARATE CONTAINERS. IT IS ALSO TRUE THAT EACH BIDDER FURNISHED GUARANTEED SHIPPING WEIGHT INFORMATION FOR ELECTROLYTE IN SEPARATE CONTAINERS. THE INVITATION FURTHER PROVIDED THAT THE GOVERNMENT WOULD EVALUATE TRANSPORTATION COSTS FROM THAT PLANT OF THE BIDDER WHICH RESULTED IN THE MOST FAVORABLE TRANSPORTATION COST TO THE GOVERNMENT.

WE HAVE COMPARED THE COST OF SHIPPING THE ELECTROLYTE FROM INDIANA WITH THE COST FROM SANTA ROSA, AND OUR COMPUTATIONS SHOW THE LATTER TO BE CHEAPER BY SOME $822, INSTEAD OF THE $915 CLAIMED BY C & D. THUS, IF THE ELECTROLYTE WERE SHIPPED FROM SANTA ROSA, SPLIT AWARDS WOULD EVALUATE AT SOME $653 LESS THAN THE SINGLE AWARD TO EXIDE. THE SOLICITATION DOES NOT SPECIFY WHETHER ELECTROLYTE IS TO BE SHIPPED WITH THE RELATED BATTERIES OR SEPARATELY, SO IT APPEARS THAT SEPARATE SHIPMENT WOULD BE PERMISSIBLE. THE ONLY QUALIFICATION WE HAVE AS TO THE ACCEPTABILITY OF SHIPPING THE ELECTROLYTE FROM THE SANTA ROSA PLANT ARISES FROM THE FACT THAT THE C & D BID, IN LISTING THAT PLANT AS A SHIPPING POINT, USED THE FOLLOWING LANGUAGE: "265 ROBERTS AVE., SANTA ROSA, SONOMA, CALIF. (WET & CHARGED ONLY)."

IT IS NOW STATED THAT THE PHRASE "WET & CHARGED ONLY" WAS INTENDED TO INDICATE ONLY THAT "CHARGED AND DRY" BATTERIES COULD NOT BE SHIPPED BY THE SANTA ROSA PLANT. THE WORDS "CHARGED AND DRY" MEAN THAT THE BATTERY HAS BEEN FILLED WITH ELECTROLYTE AND CHARGED. THE ELECTROLYTE IS THEN REMOVED AND THE BATTERY IS PUT THROUGH A SPECIAL DRYING PROCESS WHICH REQUIRES EQUIPMENT NOT AVAILABLE AT THE SANTA ROSA PLANT. SUCH BATTERIES WILL KEEP IN STORAGE FOR SEVERAL YEARS AND WHEN FILLED WITH ELECTROLYTE WILL HAVE ABOUT 80 PERCENT OF A FULL CHARGE. THIS MEANS THEY CAN BE PUT IN SERVICE AFTER A SHORT PERIOD OF CHARGING, WHEREAS A DRY AND UNCHARGED BATTERY HAS NO CHARGE WHEN FIRST FILLED WITH ELECTROLYTE AND REQUIRES A MUCH LONGER PERIOD OF CHARGING BEFORE IT CAN BE USED. OBVIOUSLY, THE SANTA ROSA PLANT HAS ELECTROLYTE SINCE IT CAN DELIVER WET CHARGED BATTERIES, AND C & D ALLEGES IT TO BE ITS COMMERCIAL PRACTICE TO SHIP ELECTROLYTE FROM ITS SANTA ROSA PLANT TO CALIFORNIA DESTINATIONS EVEN WHEN DRY CHARGED BATTERIES ARE SHIPPED FROM ITS INDIANA PLANT.

IT IS OUR OPINION THAT THE DESCRIPTION OF THE SANTA ROSA PLANT AS A SOURCE OF WET AND CHARGED BATTERIES ONLY WAS NOT INTENDED TO AND DID NOT DISQUALIFY THAT PLANT AS A SOURCE OF ELECTROLYTE SHIPPED SEPARATELY. THEREFORE BELIEVE IT IS PROPER TO COMPUTE TRANSPORTATION COSTS ON ELECTROLYTE FROM THE SANTA ROSA PLANT WHEN THIS RESULTS IN A LOWER COST TO THE GOVERNMENT.

AS STATED, C & D'S CONTENTION WITH RESPECT TO SHIPMENT OF ELECTROLYTE FROM ITS SANTA ROSA PLANT WAS NOT PRESENTED TO US UNTIL AFTER OUR DECISION OF MARCH 25, 1971. IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THIS MATTER IS NOW PENDING BEFORE THE COURTS AND SINCE THIS ASPECT HAD NOT BEEN CONSIDERED PREVIOUSLY, WE FELT IT NECESSARY TO EXPRESS OUR OPINION SINCE IT LEADS TO A RESULT CONTRARY TO THAT EXPRESSED IN OUR PRIOR DECISION.