JEA officials are asking the companies that bid on the utility as it considers a potential sale to make their identities public.
JEA Media Manager Gina Kyle said Thursday that JEA is contacting the 16 bidders and could release their names at JEA’s Public Evaluation Team meeting Monday.
“If they say yes, and make it to the next phase, their names will be released at the publicly noticed meeting” Monday, Kyle said.
Only the identities of the bidders selected to move forward in the negotiation process would be released, she said. For companies that want to remain anonymous, only their number assigned at Monday’s bid opening will be disclosed. Rejected bidders will remain confidential.
The meeting Monday will begin a four-month negotiation process. If the JEA board votes to accept one or more of the bids, the offers will be sent in March to City Council for consideration.
Even if the names are made public, it would not lift the “cone of silence” procurement method JEA is using to keep bidders’ identities anonymous and restrict what Council and JEA board officials can say about the utility sale process, Kyle said. It will remain in place throughout the negotiations.
Three private energy companies in Florida confirmed they made bids: Florida Power & Light parent NextEra Energy Inc., Emera Energy Services Inc. and Duke Energy Corp. A representative of a fourth company, water and wastewater service provider Veolia North America, told Jacksonville Daily Record news partner News4Jax.com that it’s interested in part of JEA’s assets.
JEA’s move toward releasing the bidder identities follows moves to increase oversight of the sale process.
Led by Council member Michael Boylan, the Council will form a special committee to hold a series of “fact-finding hearings” on the ramifications of privatizing JEA.
Council President Scott Wilson said Tuesday he will work with the Office of General Counsel to hire an outside legal team to provide advice on the possible JEA sale.
In an Oct. 4 letter to JEA CEO Aaron Zahn, City Inspector General Lisa Green informed the utility chief that officials from the Office of Inspector General and the city’s Office of Ethics would attend all meetings related to JEA’s possible privatization.
JEA’s Public Evaluation Team meeting is scheduled from 4 to 5 p.m. Monday at the JEA Tower, 19th floor, 21 W. Church St.