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USPS OIG – Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment Acquisition – Testing, Performance, and Contract Oversight

January 3, 2024

READ FULL ARTICLE AT » Office of Inspector General OIG

Background

To manage its aging delivery fleet while supporting financial and environmental sustainability strategies from its ten-year plan, the U.S. Postal Service is investing $9.6 billion, including $3 billion in congressional funding, to electrify its delivery vehicles and procure electric vehicle supply equipment — more commonly known as charging stations. In preparation for charging station deployment, the Postal Service conducted first article testing (a process to validate that a prototype conforms with contract requirements) and monitored seven types of charging stations. Also, to ensure fleet readiness, the Postal Service is centrally storing and dispersing charging stations from its Material Distribution Center (MDC) in Kansas. It is crucial for the Postal Service to establish and maintain effective testing, monitoring, and oversight of its assets to support delivery operations, safeguard against theft, and foster business strategies.

What We Did

Our objective was to determine whether the Postal Service was effectively testing and monitoring the performance of, providing effective oversight over the contract for, and storage of, charging stations. We observed testing at Vienna, Virginia; conducted site observations and interviews at the MDC; and reviewed related policies and procedures.

What We Found

We found that the Postal Service conducted effective contract oversight by using the first article testing to verify that charging stations conformed to certain requirements identified in the contracts’ statement of work. In addition, we found the Postal Service effectively conducted performance monitoring to evaluate the charging stations’ short-term reliability. However, the Postal Service did not conduct long-term performance monitoring, test with Next Generation Delivery Vehicles, or test the lifespan of the charging stations. Therefore, we cannot opine on the overall reliability of the charging stations. Lastly, we found that management controls over the storage of charging stations were not effective. Specifically, facility management did not employ necessary physical safety measures designed to protect and deter the theft of assets. These issues occurred because facility management did not provide sufficient oversight or resolve security deficiencies in a timely manner, as they relate to asset management responsibilities, which contributed to the loss of $67,000 in assets. The Postal Service initiated corrective actions and developed plans to address safeguards MDC-wide; however, until all the safeguards are implemented, the assets related to charging stations stored at the MDC are considered at risk of theft.

Recommendation

We recommended management take urgent action to finalize and implement the plan for physically safeguarding assets stored at the MDC, in accordance with Inspection Service recommendations and AS-701, Asset Management.

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