13 February 2003 | David Arminas
The London Universities Purchasing Consortium (LUPC) is setting up the higher education sector's first consortium-led e-auction for electricity.
John Ritchie, director of the LUPC, said the contract will be for members with sites that have a maximum annual demand above 100kWh.
About 20 institutions are part of the consortium's contract with London Electricity, which is worth around £7 million and expires at the end of July.
"I think the auction will squeeze another 1-2 per cent off the supply price," said Ritchie. "It may not sound like much, but it is a mature tender market where prices are competitive."
But Susan Wright, purchasing co-ordinator at Southern Universities Purchasing Consortium, told SM: "We tried an e-auction for energy with one of our institutions in 1998 and came to the conclusion it was not much more successful than traditional tendering."
She added: "I am sceptical and believe that only some items are potential e-auction candidates, especially where there are many suppliers, but I am not against e-auctions in principle."
The auction will be in May.