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Request for Proposals: Reporting Potential Disparities in Electric Distribution and Utility Redlining in Ohio

About Ohio Environmental Council

The OEC has a widely respected history of innovation, pragmatism, and success, and is Ohio’s leading advocate for fresh air, clean water, and sustainable land use. The organization’s mission is to secure healthy air, land, and water for all who call Ohio home. The OEC has a robust history of success in moving forward projects which help increase water quality in Ohio, decrease pollution, and mitigate climate change.


Purpose: This is a Request for Proposal (“RFP”) issued by the OEC to solicit proposals from Independent Contractors to review available information regarding the differences in age, resilience, and stability across Ohio’s electric grid.

Background: Research has proven that Ohio communities of color and low income communities bear the brunt of the impacts of climate change. We are now seeing mounting evidence these impacts include power outages. The proposed report would provide clearly presented data on Ohio’s grid infrastructure and highlight any potential disparities between distinct communities. This information made available will allow for greater transparency and accountability at the statehouse and the state’s utility regulators. In doing so, this report will provide much-needed evidence to advocate for operational changes within the commission, and to leverage education around energy justice issues across Ohio1.

Questions to Answer Through Report

  • Are there any disparities in the age of grid infrastructure in Ohio?
  • If yes, how do these disparities compare to historic redlining maps?
  • If yes, how do these disparities compare to the current “disadvantaged communities” outlined in the White House’s Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool?

Scope of Work

In order to successfully inform the public regarding any disparities in grid infrastructure, the OEC must first obtain a detailed understanding of the age and resiliency of grid infrastructure in Ohio. The OEC is looking to obtain a report that provides that detail layered on top of current Ohio community demographics and the previous redlining maps in Ohio.1

The Prospective Contractor can tailor the geographic reach of its proposal to its specific expertise. For example, if the Prospective Contractor believes the confidence interval or other indicators of research confidence will be higher if the report is focused on a specific geographic region or utility service area, it can limit the scope of the proposal to that area. The prospective contractor can also provide a proposal with two options: one that reviews utility infrastructure statewide and one that focuses on a particular geographic area.

The OEC aims to effectively educate the public by comparing the differences in the grid infrastructure across the state. Examples of relevant information regarding grid infrastructure include:

  • Hosting Capacity
  • Software
    • SmartGrid technologies: software used to monitor grid activity, bill customers, and collect customer data. Examples include the type of customer information system used, grid monitoring software like ADMS, and the penetration of smart meters.
  • Hardware
    • Distribution infrastructure: Age of hardware: including poles, circuit breakers, switches, transformers, lightning arresters, capacitors, synchronous condensers, lines, etc. This also includes any step-down and distribution substations owned and operated by the utility.
    • SmartGrid Hardware: e.g. sychrophasors, phasor measurement units (PMUs), automated feeder switches
    • Transmission infrastructure: transmission infrastructure is relevant to this report to the extent that Ohio utilities have control over the investments and resilience of that infrastructure. Transmission infrastructure solely under the control of the PJM Interconnection is not relevant to this study.

Work Requirements and Deliverables. The Independent Contractor shall undertake the following work and activities as requested and approved by the OEC for the utility accountability report.

As part of this RFP, the OEC is requesting that interested consultants provide information demonstrating their knowledge and experience in the following areas:

  • Hosting Capacity Analysis:
  • Ohio grid infrastructure: Ohio is served by four major investor-owned utilities. Each of these utilities are required to report to the PUCO on their progress with grid updates and reliability metrics. The Prospective Contractor should explain how it will utilize public utility filings to gather the required grid stability information. In addition, if the Prospective Contractor will require additional information through discovery in a particular proceeding, please provide what information it would need to obtain through discovery.
  • Ohio’s redlining history: The respondent should demonstrate its knowledge on the metrics that will need, and will be, evaluated in order to provide an accurate comparison of the various supply options from an environmental perspective.
  • Statewide versus utility-specific: The Prospective Contractor should indicate whether its proposal will cover a single investor-owned utility service area or all of the state. Proposals including multiple options are welcome.The lists above are not exhaustive but represent key areas of the workload.

Criteria and Qualifications for Proposals

Applicants should have experience in analyzing utility grid investments, utility accounting, and/or utility rate cases. Applicants should also demonstrate an understanding of the state of Ohio and the impact of our energy system on marginalized communities, particularly BIPOC and low income residents.

Calendar of Events. The schedule for this RFP and the work is given below. OEC reserves the right to change this schedule as needed.

Firm Dates:

RFP Issued: 12/22/2023
Proposal Due Date/Time: 01/26/2024

Estimated Dates:

Contract Awarded: 02/05/2024
Work Begins: February 2024
Contract End Date: TBD
Estimated Budget: Up to $20,000

Contacts. The following individual will represent OEC as the primary contact for matters relating to the non-technical aspects of the RFP and during the contract negotiation/award process and subsequent invoicing.

Karin Nordstrom

Clean Energy Attorney
Ohio Environmental Council, 1145 Chesapeake Ave., Suite I Columbus, Ohio 43212
Phone: 614-327-3076

Proposal Submission. Proposals can be sent via mail or e-mail to The deadline to submit proposals for this RFP is 5:00 p.m. on 1/26/2024.

OEC may reject any proposals or unsolicited proposal amendments that are received after the deadline.

Each prospective contractor must carefully review the requirements of this RFP and the contents of its proposal. All prospective contractors are on notice that the OEC will not be liable for any costs incurred by any prospective contractor in responding to this RFP, regardless of whether the OEC awards the contract through this process, decides not to go forward with the work, cancels this RFP for any reason, or contracts for the work through some other process or by issuing another RFP.

By submitting a proposal, the prospective contractor acknowledges that it has read this RFP, understands it, and agrees to be bound by its requirements. The prospective contractor also agrees that the contract will be the complete and exclusive statement of the agreement between the OEC and the contractor and will supersede all communications between the parties regarding the contract’s subject matter.

The OEC may reject any proposal if the prospective contractor takes exception to the terms and conditions of this RFP, fails to comply with the procedure for participating in the RFP process, or the prospective contractor’s proposal fails to meet any requirement of this RFP. The OEC may reject any proposal that is not in the best interest of the OEC to accept. Further, the OEC may decide not to do business with any of the prospective contractors responding to this RFP.

All proposals and other material submitted will become the property of the OEC and may be returned only at the option of the OEC. Proprietary information should not be included in a proposal or supporting materials because the OEC will have the right to use any materials or ideas submitted in any proposal without compensation to the prospective contractor.

Amendments to the RFP. If the OEC decides to revise this RFP, amendments will be made availabletoallprospectivecontractors. IftheOECamendstheRFPafterproposalshavebeen submitted, the OEC will permit prospective contractors to withdraw or modify their proposals.

Contract. If this RFP results in a contract award/awards, the contract will include by reference this RFP, written amendments to this RFP, the prospective contractor’s proposal, and written, authorized amendments to the Contractor’s proposal. It will also include any purchase orders and change orders issued under the Contract.


1 The Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) was created in June 1933 by the US Congress. The purpose was to refinance mortgages in default to prevent foreclosures. In 1935 Federal Home Loan Bank Board asked HOLC to look at 239 cities and create “residential security maps” to indicate the level of security for real-estate investments. These maps disproportionately labeled high risk neighborhoods as those with Black, Indigenous, and people of color as residents, making it much harder for these communities to get home loans. Source: