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Chicago Lighting Project Hit With Antitrust Lawsuit

Illinois-based Neptun Lighting, Inc has filed an antitrust lawsuit against the city of Chicago, claiming the city’s Smart Lighting Project did not accept bids from lighting manufacturers to do the job.

The suit claims Chicago had planned to use GE Lighting on the project from the start, and never accepted bids from other lighting companies. In the lawsuit filed on November 17, Neptune also claims its products are actually better suited for the job than the products selected by Ameresco, the company the city hired to run the job.

The Smart Street Lighting Project started earlier this year, with the city planning to replace about 85% of the city’s lighting with smart LEDs. The plan was to replace approximately 250 street light fixtures across the city.

In its lawsuit, Neptune reports it was told by Ameresco that it did not win the bid to supply the lights for the project, and asked for an explanation, since it believed it would be producing a better product that the GE lighting selected by Ameresco. Ameresco did not provide an answer, but the city itself told Neptun there was a combination of reasons why it did not get the contract, including the desire to have the lighting made locally and that the company that won the bid have large-project experience. Neptun claims to have both.  Neptun also claims the city started installing GE products before the bidding process ended.

Since this is a $160 million dollar project, Neptun believes it lost “10’s of millions of dollars” as a result. ┬áIt is asking for unspecified damages, and it is demanding the city cancel its contract with Ameresco on this entire project.

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