The Crown corporation responsible for the province's transmission lines is hiring a consultant with a background in Russian energy policy and the democratization of post-Soviet countries to analyze California's power planning initiatives, directly awarding her a contract worth up to $80,000. Under the government's procurement guidelines, contracts worth $25,000 or more must be put through a competitive bidding process unless certain conditions are met - such as only one contractor being qualified to do that work. But a British Columbia Transmission Corp. spokesperson told Public Eye those guidelines don't apply to Crown corporations and that Olga Beznosova is being given the contract because of her academic credentials and her previous work for BCTC.
According to her LinedIn profile, Ms. Beznosova has a master's degree in public policy and management from the University of Pittsburgh and is working on a doctorate in political science at the University of British Columbia. Her specialty: "Russian energy policy, politics of authoritarian states, and democratic transitions."
Ms. Beznosova also states on her personal Website she has produced reports on "human rights policies, globalization and security issues related to the Roma minority in Hungary and other eastern European countries," as well as having contributed to a research proposal on the "taxonomy of terrorists groups."
In September 2006, the transmission corporation hired her as a part-time consultant in "strategic planning, corporate performance measurement and energy policy."
Before that, Ms. Beznosova - who has an undergraduate degree in physics - worked for six months as a researcher for NATO's parliamentary assembly and for five months doing a similar job for the Women Waging Peace Network, an organization that connects female peacemakers around the world.
Now she's been tasked with analyzing California's electricity and transmission planning initiatives for BCTC, as well as state legislative and regulatory activities.
A corporation spokesperson has labeled that work, which will also include reviewing industry publications and corporate strategic planning, as "standard business activity."
But it comes at a time when the corporation and the Campbell administration are angling to sell clean energy to The Golden State, with the government announcing in its February 2010 throne speech that it would "seek major transmission upgrades with utilities in California and elsewhere."
The transmission corporation has stated in a notice posted on the government's procurement Website it's directly awarding the work to Ms. Beznosova because of her credentials, as well as her experience with BCTC's "unique business model," "strategic planning process" and "performance measurement program."
The contract will last up to 12 months and is "intended to complete work currently underway before a full-time policy analyst can be retained."
When pressed about why the corporation wasn't soliciting bids for that work, a spokesperson said Ms. Beznosova's combination of experience and qualifications allows her to "quickly step in" to the job.
The following is a complete copy of the aforementioned notice of intent.
BCTC monitors and analyzes regional issues that are significant to the operation, maintenance and planning of BC's transmission system.
Notice is hereby given by the BC Transmission Corporation ("BCTC") of its intent to contract with Olga Beznosova to provide strategic services and policy analysis to the Strategy and Policy Department to meet this objective.
This assignment is short term and intended to complete work currently underway before a full-time policy analyst can be retained. The value is not expected to exceed $80,000.
The deliverables of this engagement will include:
-conduct analysis of California's resource planning initiatives, including: California
Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative (RETI), California Transmission Planning Group (CTPG), California Independent System Operator (CAISO), California Energy Commission (CEC), California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC),
-Review and provide analysis of state legislative and regulatory activities
-Industry publications review and analysis
-Support to BCTC's Director of Strategy and Policy regarding corporate strategic planning
BCTC has chosen not to call for proposals at this time and selected the vendor for the following reasons:
-Existing experience providing research and analysis on energy policy in British Columbia, Canada, and internationally
-Existing experience with BCTC's strategic planning process and performance measurement program
-Significant experience and understanding of utility industry and BCTC's unique business model
-Significant academic qualifications (PhD Candidate, Department of Political Science, UBC; Master of Public Policy and Management, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh)
-Organizational capacity to complete engagement activities in defined timelines
Interested parties wishing to object to this decision should submit in writing the reasons for their objection by April 22, 2010, Pacific Time to Rob Neilson, Purchasing Manager, BC Transmission Corporation at FAX (604) 699-7580 or email at Robert.Neilson@bctc.com detailing specific reasons for their objections. A vendor's relevant experience and ability to provide the described services at competitive financial arrangements will be key when BCTC considers such objections.