The Energy Department intends to keep security contractor Centerra Group on the job at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina into 2021, according to a Tuesday procurement notice.
The update landed on the same day the company seemingly objected to the procurement for the follow-on contract for paramilitary security services at the 310-square-mile complex near the South Carolina-Georgia border.
The current deal with Centerra ends Oct. 7, but now will be extended through Feb. 7, 2021. The Energy Department can also exercise two additional four-month option periods, which could keep the vendor around through Oct. 7, 2021.
In the past year, such options periods have been valued at about $35.8 million per four months.
The Tuesday notice of intent is not a request for competitive proposals. But interested sources may though June 11 submit information about their capability to perform the security work by emailing DOE Contracting Officer Johnsell Christian at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Energy Department previously issued a special notice extending Centerra’s tenure on April 20, only to cancel it one day afterward without explanation.
Centerra Group has provided security services at the Savannah River Site since October 2009 under a roughly $1 billion award that has been incrementally extended since September 2019. The contractor employs roughly 700 people at the site.
The Energy Department issued a final request for proposals for a new 10-year agreement in March 2019, but has yet to award a contract. The work includes continued protection of government-owned or leased property, special nuclear material, and classified or sensitive information at Savannah River, as well as workers and visitors to the complex.
Centerra on Tuesday filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office that appears linked to request for proposals. While the notice on the GAO website includes little information, it cites the Department of Energy as the involved agency and lists a solicitation number that corresponds with the number for the Savannah River security procurement.
The GAO website indicates protests can be filed over terms of a solicitation even before a contract is awarded. In such cases, the vendor challenges the agency’s conduct prior to award as a violation of procurement regulation, a source said Thursday via email. Sometimes a bidder can be eliminated from the competition before a procurement is completed – and that can be challenged.
It was not immediately known if Centerra is challenging such a move by the Energy Department, or is protesting on some other grounds. Steve Hafner, a spokesman for Centerra’s parent company Constellis said any questions about the protest should be directed to the DOE.