Public Contract Law Journal

Using Energy Savings Performance Contracts to Improve Utility Security and Resilience at Department of Defense Installations that Experience Frequent Utility Disruptions

by Taylor Haga

Taylor Haga (thaga@law.gwu.edu) is a J.D. candidate at The George Washington University Law School and a member of the Public Contract Law Journal. She would like to recognize the professors and editors who diligently curate this publication while working alongside authors to ensure its quality and relevance. She would especially like to thank the professors and editors with whom she worked directly and received valuable guidance from throughout her writing process. Finally, she would like to extend her sincere gratitude to her parents, sister, family, and friends, without whom she would not be where she is today.


I. Introduction

In 2015, an official at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (Trenton, New Jersey) disclosed to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that the base recently experienced a disruption in its electrical power system.1 A power line had exploded, effectively shutting down the base’s power supply for an entire week.2 In describing the reason for the explosion, he explained that the power line was first installed in 1945 and was “past its expected service life.”3 The explosion — in addition to shutting down a “major Army facility” for a full week — forced the base to rely on generators for the next three weeks.4

This sort of disruption to utility systems is not uncommon at major military bases and defense installations.5 On the contrary, utility disruptions at four of the U.S. Navy’s major shipyards led to significant delays in its efforts to repair and maintain Naval ships, amounting to “approximately $58 million in lost productivity.”6 The U.S. Navy determined that these utility disruptions “were mostly caused by the equipment failure of Navy-owned utility equipment.”7 In July 2017, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations, and Environment reported8 to Congress that during Fiscal Year 2016, “approximately 701 utility outages that lasted eight hours or longer” were reported by the Department of Defense (DoD) components and of those that were reported, the cost to the DoD — on average — was $500,000 per day.9

DoD10 installations and bases operate worldwide.11 They provide the “training, deployment, redeployment, and support for the military forces.”12 They are the platforms from which all military operations originate and develop. The DoD has specifically provided that “national security depends on [the DoD’s] defense installations and facilities being in the right place, at the right time, with the right qualities and capacities to protect our national resources.”13 Utility disruptions14 at DoD defense installations threaten those exact qualities and capacities necessary for our national security’s preservation.15

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