The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, which serves the city’s 4 million residents and tens of thousands of commercial customers, awarded $2.6 billion in contracts last year – everything from office supplies to water-line replacement construction to giant solar and wind farm projects.
The massive utility has been using an antiquated bidding portal that is supposed to both put out the word about contracts and receive bids from vendors, suppliers and contractors.
This month, the utility – after an earlier abandoned effort – finally launched an upgraded portal that it promises will result in a streamlined and more efficient bidding process.
The relaunched portal, known as the electronic Request Solicit Procure System (or e-RSP for short), contains features for expanded outreach about contracting opportunities to reach a wider range of bidders. It also contains built-in self-certification for SBE (Small Business Enterprise), DBE (Disadvantated Business Enterprise) and LBE (Local Business Enterprise) and other socio-economic programs; currently, businesses have to submit those certifications through other means.
The new system also has enhanced cyber-security features.
The road to this re-launch of the online bidding portal had some twists and turns. The agency in 2020 initially turned to Ivalua Inc., the American subsidiary of Paris-based software contractor Ivalua, to develop a revamped bidding portal that was known as LEPS. But somewhere along the way, the Department of Water and Power’s vision for the new portal and Ivalua’s vision diverged, and early this summer that contract was terminated.
Instead, the agency spent about $45,000 to develop an upgraded system internally.