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Disqualified AE bidder plans protest

Monday, December 7, 2015 by Jo Clifton

Oxford Advisors LLC, the company that was disqualified from being chosen to act as the advocate for consumers and small businesses for Austin Energy’s rate review, has notified the city that it will be protesting the disqualification. James Scarboro, the city’s purchasing officer, said the company would have until Dec. 14 to file its official protest. As the Austin Monitor reported last week, Oxford Advisors was disqualified because Michael Osborne, chair of the Electric Utility Commission, contacted the company. He did so after he and other members of the EUC recommended against hiring the company. Scarboro told the Monitor that the city may or may not hire a hearings officer to consider the protest. Sometimes the nature of the protest requires someone outside the city to consider the arguments, and sometimes it does not, he said. Mayor Steve Adler suggested in a memo posted on the City Council Message Board last week that perhaps Council could vote to override the disqualification. Scarboro declined comment on whether Council has the authority to take that action, adding that he has only been with the city for a year, so he is not sure whether Council has done so in the past. Austin Energy is in a hurry to hire the consumer adviser and perform the rate review in order to present findings to Council next summer before Council has to take up the following year’s budget.

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