GE Sues Siemens Over Dominion Data Leak

by Steve Haner

General Electric (GE) has filed suit seeking major monetary damages from Siemens Energy in a Virginia federal court, alleging “willful and malicious misappropriation of GE trade secrets” as they competed to be suppliers to Dominion Energy Virginia. Dominion is not a named defendant, but an employee (reportedly now gone) is accused of sharing GE’s data with Siemens.

A copy of the petition is here, posted by in one of the many trade publication stories about the dispute. Here is one from Reuters and another from Barron’s, which has a paywall. General Electric is represented by the Richmond law firm Spotts Fain, P.C.  

All Dominion ratepayers have a stake in assuring that the coming gigantic capital projects we will spend the rest of our lives paying for are built for at prices set by competition, not by insider dealing. On this, stockholder and ratepayer interests should align.

The allegation is that a senior Dominion employee – named in the pleading — provided GE confidential proprietary bid information to Siemens, giving Siemens a major advantage as it competed over a series of requests for natural gas generation proposals, contacts GE did not win.

GE also makes allegations related to the January 2020 decision by Dominion to use Siemens Gamesa as its manufacturing partner in its planned $7.8 billion offshore wind project.

GE was stunned to learn in January 2020 that Siemens Gamesa had been selected as Dominion’s partner for the Offshore Wind Project without an RFP ever having been issued. Dominion’s selection of a manufacturing partner for the Offshore Wind Project without the benefit of a formal RFP process was highly unusual, as was the short time period—two months—between Dominion’s issuance of a preliminary RFI and its decision to award the project to Siemens Gamesa. GE believes that Siemens Gamesa engaged in highly aggressive and potentially improper competitive tactics in securing the Offshore Wind Project contracts from Dominion.

This suit focuses on a 2019 procurement by Dominion for two 500 megawatt “peaker” gas turbine generators, details the proprietary data it alleges were shared, and details who sent and received emails alleged to contain that information. Exactly what that was is redacted in the 61 page pleading.

GE is also seeking the enjoin Siemens from taking any future advantage from the information it alleges was leaked.

GE expects to compete head-to-head with Siemens for multiple high-dollar-value energy RFPs that are likely to be issued by Dominion in coming years. If Siemens is able to leverage its knowledge of GE’s Trade Secrets to gain an unfair advantage in bidding for Dominion’s gas turbine projects, it will further strengthen its relationship with a critical East Coast power generation partner and could box GE out of much of the East Coast power generation market, not just for gas turbine projects but for all types of energy projects….

Both GE and Siemens are bidding on the South Carolina RFP, which is significant because Dominion intends to purchase from the winning bidder a substantial number of gas turbines for installation in several Dominion power plants as part of a comprehensive fleet modernization program over the next five years. The value of these contracts is between $120 million and $150 million, with expected long-term servicing revenue that likely will exceed $60 million.

Siemens management informed GE of the breach of  in September of 2020, a move GE called “belated and deficient.” It also informed Dominion management before notifying GE. Dominion did cancel the Peaker Project contract Siemens had won.

Richmond-based media may no longer be capable of following a suit of this magnitude in its reporting, and I’m not likely to take the time, but with players of this size and funds of this magnitude, the trade press is likely to.

Hat tip: Anonymous