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Jax Daily Record Monday, Oct. 14, 201909:10 PM EST

Nine companies selected to move forward in bidding for JEA

Eight of the companies share their identities in possible purchase of city-owned utility.
by: Mike Mendenhall Staff Writer

JEA procurement officials announced Monday that nine companies will move forward as the city-owned utility weighs a possible sale.

Of the 16 replies received from JEA’s invitation to negotiate, 13 satisfied the mandatory bidding requirements. That list was pared to nine by a JEA evaluation team.

Eight of the companies gave permission to disclose their identities, which was not required. They are:

• American Public Infrastructure LLC.

• American Water Works Co. Inc.

• Duke Energy Corp.

• Emera Inc. 

• IFM Investors PTY Ltd.

• JEA Public Power Partners — a consortium of Bernhard Capital Partners, Emera Inc. and Suez SA.

• Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets Inc.

• NextEra Energy Inc.

About the companies

NextEra owns Florida Power & Light Co., whose CEO confirmed interest in JEA assets in August.

Emera is the parent company of TECO Peoples Gas.

The JEA Public Partners consortium comprises Emera; Bernhard Capital Partners, a Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based equity firm; and Suez, a French drinking and wastewater treatment service company.

American Water Works operates drinking and wastewater services in 46 states and has 7,100 employees nationwide.

Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Asset Inc. is an Australian-based global asset management company whose parent, Macquarie Group Ltd., has offices in Riverplace Tower on the Downtown Southbank.

In an interview with the Daily Record on Oct. 4 during a visit to the office, Macquarie Managing Director and CEO Shemara Wikramanayake said the company was interested in acquiring JEA.

She said the company manages many utility assets, with more than 100 energy projects around the world, through its Green Investment Group.

JEA’s power and water assets are “definitely something we would look at,” Wikramanayake said.

Two of the bids came from financial asset management companies. IFM Investors is a company based in Melbourne, Australia, and American Public Infrastructure, which also engages in strategic advisory and consulting, is based in Chicago.

Evaluation Committee members

The public learned Monday who serves on the bid evaluation committee. The group comprises five senior JEA executives:

• Juli Crawford, director of financial planning and analysis.

• Shawn Eads, vice president and chief information officer.

• Jon Kendrick, vice president and chief human resources officer.

• Joe Orfano, treasurer.

• Jordan Pope, JEA director of economic development and real estate.

The evaluation team scored the bids on a 100-point scale. The results are posted on the JEA website, but without the names of companies.

JEA Chief Procurement Officer Jenny McCollum said an average score of 75 or higher was considered “good.”

JEA Vice President and Chief Legal Affairs Officer Lynne Rhode.

JEA Media Relations Manager Gina Kyle said the bid information will remain confidential until after the committee submits its final recommendation to the JEA board.

JEA Vice President and Chief Legal Affairs Officer Lynne Rhode said Monday the utility is not required to release the names of the bidders until 30 days from receiving the companies’ final replies.

“We will not get to final replies until the end of the process or close to the end of the process, so this is entirely consistent (with city code),” Rhode said.

JEA issued the invitation to bid Aug. 2, saying a sale could be the best option to solve projected declining energy sales and revenue. To be accepted, all bids will have to include minimum requirements of a $3 billion cash payment to the city, $400 million in customer rebates and a commitment to keep employees in Downtown Jacksonville.

The selected bidder will have to provide the city $132 million to extend pension protections for all full-time JEA workers employed at the time of the sale. Council approved legislation requiring the stipulation Sept. 24.

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