Determining Price Reasonableness in Federal ESPCs

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This document reports the findings and implementation recommendations of the Price Reasonableness Working Group to the Federal ESPC Steering Committee. The working group was formed to address concerns of agencies and oversight organizations related to pricing and fair and reasonable price determination in federal energy savings performance contracts (ESPCs). This report comprises the working group's recommendations and is the proposed draft of a training curriculum on fair and reasonable price determination for users of federal ESPCs. The report includes: (1) A review of federal regulations applicable to determining price reasonableness of federal ESPCs (section 2), (2) Brief descriptions of the ... continued below

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Shonder, J.A. March 8, 2005.

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Description

This document reports the findings and implementation recommendations of the Price Reasonableness Working Group to the Federal ESPC Steering Committee. The working group was formed to address concerns of agencies and oversight organizations related to pricing and fair and reasonable price determination in federal energy savings performance contracts (ESPCs). This report comprises the working group's recommendations and is the proposed draft of a training curriculum on fair and reasonable price determination for users of federal ESPCs. The report includes: (1) A review of federal regulations applicable to determining price reasonableness of federal ESPCs (section 2), (2) Brief descriptions of the techniques described in Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) 15.404-1 and their applicability to ESPCs (section 3), and (3) Recommended strategies and procedures for cost-effectively completing price reasonableness determinations (sections 4). Agencies have struggled with fair and reasonable price determinations in their ESPCs primarily because this alternative financing vehicle is relatively new and relatively rare in the federal sector. The methods of determining price reasonableness most familiar to federal contracting officers (price competition based on the government's design and specifications, in particular) are generally not applicable to ESPCs. The regulatory requirements for determining price reasonableness in federal ESPCs have also been misunderstood, as federal procurement professionals who are inexperienced with ESPCs are further confused by multiple directives, including Executive Order 13123, which stresses life-cycle cost-effectiveness. Uncertainty about applicable regulations and inconsistent practice and documentation among agencies have fueled claims that price reasonableness determinations have not been sufficiently rigorous in federal ESPCs or that the prices paid in ESPCs are generally higher than the prices paid for similar goods and services obtained through conventional procurements. While claims of excessive prices are largely unsubstantiated and based on anecdotal evidence, the perception that there is a problem is shared by many in the ESPC community and has been noted by auditors and oversight organizations. The Price Reasonableness Working Group determined that a more formal emphasis on FAR 15.404-1 in the ESPC process could remove much of the doubt about price reasonableness determinations. The working group's recommended consensus policy on price reasonableness stresses the price analysis techniques described in the FAR that are applicable to ESPCs and includes guidance for agencies use of these techniques in determining price reasonableness for their ESPC delivery orders. The recommended policy and guidance, if communicated to federal ESPC stakeholders, can ensure that agencies will comply with the FAR in awarding ESPCs, obtain fair and reasonable prices and best value for the government, and follow procedures that provide auditable documentation of due diligence in price reasonableness determinations.

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  • Report No.: ORNL/TM-2004/307
  • Grant Number: DE-AC05-00OR22725
  • DOI: 10.2172/885966 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 885966
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc876750

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  • March 8, 2005

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

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  • Nov. 23, 2016, 3:11 p.m.

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Shonder, J.A. Determining Price Reasonableness in Federal ESPCs, report, March 8, 2005; [Tennessee]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc876750/: accessed September 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.