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Rule

General Services Administration Acquisition Regulation; Disputes and Appeals

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCIES:

General Services Administration (GSA), Office of the Chief Acquisition Officer.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The General Services Administration (GSA) is amending the General Services Administration Acquisition Regulation (GSAR) to add a clause that supplements the Disputes clause in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (see 48 CFR Chapter 1).

DATES:

Effective Date: January 4, 2005.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Ms. Laurieann Duarte, Regulatory Secretariat (VIR), Room 4035, GS Building, Washington, DC, 20405, (202) 501-4225, for information pertaining to status or publication schedules. For clarification of content, contact Mr. Ernest Woodson, Procurement Analyst, at (202) 501-3775. Please cite Amendment 2004-05, GSAR case 2004-G501 (Change 13).

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

A. Background

Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Subpart 33.2 (48 CFR subpart 33.2) implements the requirements of the Contract Disputes Act of 1978, as amended (41 U.S.C. 601-613) (the Act), which establishes procedures and requirements for asserting and resolving claims subject to the Act. It is the Government's policy to resolve all contractual issues in controversy by mutual agreement at the contracting officer level. The Act provides for Agencies Boards of Contract Appeals (Boards) and the United States Court of Federal Claims (Court) to resolve appeals of a contracting officer's decision. However, the Boards and Court do not have authority to interpret tariffs or tariff-related matters established through public hearings in each jurisdiction for regulated utilities. The authority pertaining to these matters lie with state public utility commissions.

A proposed rule was published in the Federal Register at 69 FR 40730, July 6, 2004. No comments were received from the public.

FAR section 33.215 requires that the clause 52.233-1, Disputes, be inserted in all solicitations and contracts, except those with a foreign government or agency of that government, or an international organization or subsidiary body of that organization, if the agency head determines that the application of the Act to the contract would not be in the public interest. GSA's Public Buildings Service awards contracts for public utility services. From time-to-time, disputes may arise from those contracts that involve tariffs and tariff-related matters. This rule provides for a supplement to FAR 52.233-1, Disputes, allowing for such disputes to be subject to the jurisdiction and regulation of the utility rate commission having jurisdiction. This rule also provides GSA contracting officers and contractors, acting under a utility service contract, with specific guidance regarding the resolution of disputes Start Printed Page 299involving tariffs and tariff-related matters.

This is not a significant regulatory action and, therefore, was not subject to review under Section 6(b) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, dated September 30, 1993. This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804.

B. Regulatory Flexibility Act

The General Services Administration certifies that this final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities within the meaning of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601, et seq., because the majority of small entities that are in the industry were established as a result of deregulation and are not subject to the utility rate commissions. Also, this is intended to be a clarification of existing law, not a substantive change. A Final Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis was, therefore, not performed.

C. Paperwork Reduction Act

The Paperwork Reduction Act does not apply because the changes to the GSAR do not impose recordkeeping or information collection requirements, or otherwise collect information from offerors, contractors, or members of the public that require approval of the Office of Management and Budget under 44 U.S.C.3501, et seq.

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List of Subjects in 48 CFR Parts 533 and 552

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Dated: December 27, 2004.

David A. Drabkin,

Senior Procurement Executive, Office of the Chief Acquisition Officer.

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Therefore, GSA amends

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1. The authority citation for

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Authority: 40 U.S.C. 121(c).

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PART 533—PROTESTS, DISPUTES, AND APPEALS

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2. Add section 533.215 to read as follows:

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Contract clause.

Insert the clause at 552.233-71, Disputes (Utility Contracts), in solicitations and contracts for utility services subject to the jurisdiction and regulation of a utility rate commission.

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PART 552—SOLICITATION PROVISIONS AND CONTRACT CLAUSES

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3. Add section 552.233-71 to read as follows:

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Disputes (Utility Contracts).

As prescribed in 533.215, insert the following clause:

DISPUTES (UTILITY CONTRACTS) (JAN 2005)

The requirements of the Disputes clause at FAR 52.233-1 are supplemented to provide that matters involving the interpretation of tariffed retail rates, tariff rate schedules, and tariffed terms provided under this contract are subject to the jurisdiction and regulation of the utility rate commission having jurisdiction.

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[FR Doc. 05-82 Filed 1-3-05; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6820-61-S