Serbia:Power utility EPS tender for IT system for electricity billing under public investigation

26. January 2015. / AppSerbia

EPS has announced the tender for a job worth around 15 million euros in which such conditions have been set that they suit only one foreign company whereas domestic companies are thereby eliminated, ”Blic“ daily claimed and confirmed their findings to Serbia Energy

The tender, the deadline of which has been extended until 26th January, was announced for the procurement of – a unified information system for billing and collecting electricity. So far, for decades, the collection solutions have been made by domestic companies, the Faculty of Electrical Engineering among them.

As “Blic“ claim, the only company to which the tender conditions are suitable is the foreign company SAP. Last year, they concluded the contract for a “business software“ worth 3.99 million euros which was the result of – a direct bargain.

Already from the start, the tender has a condition favouring this company, and this is that the bidder “should have at least one software implementation project with the minimum contract value of three million euros“. Among the conditions from the tender documentation which eliminate domestic companies is – that, in the last three years, they had a business income the value of which amounts to minimum ten million euros per year. Domestic companies cannot satisfy this condition even in a joint Bid.

In the tender documentation, there are items referring to the company’s business capacity. Several conditions are defined that are practically unachievable for Serbian companies. However, the conditions have the same pattern, and this is that – it is not the subject of the procurement that is crucial but the time within which a company performed the installation of whatever software and the amount of profit in this job.

Among the carefully set conditions, there also those referring to the technical specification that has to be satisfied. Thus – for this job, the bidder must offer a software that is active with at least one user with minimum one million measuring points. With this condition, domestic companies should not even send the envelopes containing their bids. So far, in Serbia, there has not even been a company having one client with more than one million measuring points.
Attention has also been paid to the segment about the personnel capacity that the winning bidder should have. Although there is the impression that domestic companies are favoured by the condition that the knowledge of Serbian, both speaking and writing, is required from the project manager and the internal quality inspection, however, they are not in the race in this segment either. Other conditions are such that those to whom Serbian is the mother tongue are practically ruled out. As “Blic“ finds out, only the company SAP employs the staff suited to all stated conditions.

EPS: Conditions not Discriminatory

“Blic“ has stated eight conditions that can be considered discriminatory or irrelevant for being awarded the contract and we have asked the EPS authorities why precisely these conditions were set. We have not obtained an explanation but only: “As the tender is still under way, we cannot explain the defined criteria and parameters in more detail“, as well as that the EPS believes that the conditions are not discriminatory. We have not obtained a precise response to the question whether a particular bidder is favoured by the conditions in the tender documentation either. Instead, we have been told that the procurement of a unified information system is a strategic and most important project and that the procurement is conducted in accordance with the law.

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