School Board Cancels Energy Management Contract

The Clarke County Public School system is pulling the plug on its energy monitoring contractor. School officials say that Schneider Electric (formerly known as TAC) is not delivering on promised technical solutions designed to monitor and control the school district’s energy usage. Last night the School Board voted to unanimously terminate the $10,000 per year contract.

“We continue to have many challenges with TAC including customer service and support with problems. Their response time is terrible” CCPS Superintendent Dr. Michael Murphy told the School Board last night.

According to Murphy, CCPS borrowed $1.5M to finance a TAC energy monitoring solution that was supposed to pay for itself through energy cost savings. Last night Murphy told the School Board “It’s not clear that we have saved anything at all because of TAC.”

TAC  develops energy solutions that integrate data collection, information sharing, control systems and energy management for commercial, industrial and institutional buildings around the world. According to the company’s website “TAC  has the expertise to understand customers’ different businesses and address their specific needs.  TAC is the supplier of choice for building management solutions tailored to the way customers do business.”

“TAC has failed to deliver on their promises” Murphy said. “It just hasn’t worked”.

A call to Schneider Electric’s American Headquarters in Carrollton, Texas failed to produce a statement regarding Clarke County’s planned contract termination.

Murphy told the School Board that CCPS had been working with TAC for about six years. An “electronic controller” installed by TAC was supposed to allow county staff to remotely control and monitor energy systems like lights, water and HVAC. Murphy said that the remote control goal had not been achieved.

Murphy told the School Board that the contract with Schneider Electric can be terminated for non-performance. However, according to Murphy, the contract is silent on whether the TAC software and controller systems will remain in place once the contract is terminated. Murphy said that if the TAC system is removed there is concern about how the school district will manage its various energy systems.

“The question is ‘What happens when we unplug TAC’” Murphy said. “Is their technology proprietary or do we own it?”

Murphy said that termination of the Schneider Electric contract does not mean that CCPS is lessening its commitment to energy monitoring and efficiency. Murphy told the School Board that Clarke County Natural Resource Planner Allison Teetor has identified other energy management vendors better suited to Clarke County.

“We want help managing our energy resources but we’re not willing to go any further with this particular company” Murphy said. “Schneider Electric is just not cutting the mustard.”