AUGUSTA — The losing bidder in a developing natural gas war in central Maine filed a formal appeal Thursday asking the state to reconsider its decision to give the contract to another company.

Summit Natural Gas of Maine lost the bid by fewer than two points, documents filed with the Bureau of General Services show.

The winning bidder, Maine Natural Gas Corp., earned 94 points, while Summit earned 92.09. Points were awarded for cost savings to the state, job creation, capacity and fiscal stability.

The state asked for bids from companies to supply natural gas to state property on both sides of the Kennebec River in Augusta, and for the pipeline to be sized large enough for possible expansion. In an email earlier this week, a spokesman for Maine Natural Gas, which is a subsidiary of Central Maine Power’s parent company Iberdrola, said the proposal satisfied the state’s request. On Monday, Summit filed a request for a stay of the contract, which made nearly all of the same arguments as the appeal filed Thursday.

“Maine Natural Gas has every intention of providing service to residents and businesses in the Kennebec Valley in a thoughtful, businesslike manner that will result in fair rates for all of our customers,” said Dan Hucko, spokesman.

Maine Natural Gas proposed a $19.3 million project with 46 jobs.

Summit proposed a $150 million project with 435 jobs and service to 15,000 customers as well as state property in Augusta and Gardiner.

The disparity between the bids is one reason Summit thinks the state should reconsider its decision.

“The (request for proposals) is fundamentally flawed because it is ambiguous and capable of multiple interpretations regarding the scope of the project,” wrote Verrill Dana attorney Brett Witham in the appeal filed with the state. “This fundamental flaw resulted in bidders submitting widely disparate proposals.”

Summit also argues that the state did not give enough weight to the number of jobs created, and that Maine Natural Gas failed to meet all the requirements of the state because it did not say it would provide service to state facilities in Gardiner.

The state Bureau of General Services did not return a call seeking comment Thursday.

The director of the bureau, Donald McCormack, will decide whether to grant an appeal hearing, according to the documents filed Thursday. Appeals of big contracts are not uncommon, said Alan Henry, bureau director for special projects, earlier this week. In an interview two weeks ago, he said the big difference between the two bids was cost. The per million British thermal unit price in the proposal from Maine Natural Gas was $11.98, compared to Summit’s $12.67.

Susan Cover — 621-5643

[email protected]

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