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Electric Utility Board Member Marc McDougal Says All Bids Should Be Rejected for New Lubbock Power & Light Power Plant

Rob Snyder, KFYO.com

Lubbock Electric Utility Board (EUB) member Marc McDougal (pictured) addressed the media Thursday afternoon after accusatory comments from Lubbock Power & Light CEO Dr. Gary Zheng were published Thursday morning.

Dr. Zheng made the comments to the Sandstorm Scholar:

Dr. Zheng also made this statement in the context of questions that should be directed at EUB members Marc McDougal, Clayton Isom and Mayor Glen Robertson, “I hope you will keep in mind, there are some people who want to kill this thing. I think potentially they may financially benefit. They may personally benefit from it.”

McDougal explained his opposition to AEG’s bid to build the new power generation plant for Lubbock Power & Light.

“My opposition to the recommendation has to do with what took place prior to Dr. Zheng’s recommendation to The Board (EUB), and my concerns with the quality of the low bid,” McDougal said.

He continued, “Dr. Zheng took a trip late in 2012 to Florida where he looked at G.E. Equipment. Dr. Zheng confirmed that AEG (recommended Respondent), Zackary (the General Contractor) and a consultant working for AEG were also on that trip.

“Sometime in the spring of 2013, Dr. Zheng received an RFP template from a consultant working for AEG. However, when I asked him directly where the RFP came from, and asked if it came from an AEG consultant, Gary told me and The EUB he “did not know” and that the RFP did not come from the consultant.  Dr. Zheng indicated that one or two of his LP&L employees put it together. So, I asked to speak to both of those employees. One of the employees answered the question without hesitation saying he’d got the RFP from Gary and that he would get the e-mail to prove it.  He did just that.

“When Dr. Zheng found out we had discovered the RFP came from him, he approached me in a hallway and said, “I remember, I did get it from a consultant from AEG.” He only remembered after he knew we’d learned the truth.”

McDougal went on to say that the EUB should reject all bids for the new power generation plant. “The simple appearance at what’s taken place, as far as I’m concerned, makes the board’s (EUB) best option to reject all bids.”

McDougal also said the EUB will hold a special meeting next Monday and that the future of Dr. Zheng’s employment with LP&L will be discussed at the meeting.

The RFP for the new power generation plant is important because Lubbock Power and Light, through the West Texas Municipal Power Agency, has a 2019 deadline to replace the electricity capacity that will be lost through the expiring purchased-power agreement with Xcel Energy.

Concerning the 2019 deadline, McDougal said, “The problem is coming in 2019 whether we want it to or not. Now are the lights going to go out in 2019 if we don’t build this fancy new (power) generation station? No. You’ll have purchase power, I can’t promise what we’ll be paying for electricity if that happens. But we need to look at all of our options. We need to get this process started over.  The board, the council, the mayor need to take an active role in it.”

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At 4:30p, October 31, 2013 Lubbock Power & Light CEO, Dr. Gary Zheng issued the following statement:

“In regards to statements that have been made concerning the RFP process itself and my role in that process, the Electric Utility Board voted unanimously this past week to hire a completely independent third-party firm to conduct a thorough audit of these matters.  I applaud their decision to do so and will wait for the conclusion of their review.

“It is clear there was a misunderstanding that may have come from the interview I conducted this week.  It was not my intent to attack any member of the LP&L board.  I have no information or reason to believe that any member of the Electric Utility Board has any ulterior motive in regards to the RFP for future generation.  I truly believe the only motivation by each and every board member is to do everything in their power to assure that Lubbock has a reliable and affordable supply of electricity for the future.

“I am committed to working with the Mayor and EUB members to ensure Lubbock has reliable and affordable electricity for all its citizens, now and in the future.  It is of paramount importance that our team stay focused on the task at hand and continue to work to make the best long term decision for the City of Lubbock.”

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