Berke Tells EPB Board Precise Figures Needed For Electric Charges To City

Monday, June 02, 2014

Mayor Andy Berke said in a letter to EPB board members that the utility needs to come up with exact figures on its charges to the city.

He noted that EPB recently concluded that overbilling to the city had occurred for electricity, "but concluded that due to other charges not being included, no net overbilling had actually occurred."

Mayor Berke said he wants exact figures by July 1.

He said, "We will pay for the energy we consume – no more and no less."

EPB conducted an audit of the city payments after issues arose over a city contract for installation of new energy-saving lights provided by the Chattanooga-based Global Green Lighting. The Littlefield administration planned to swap out all city lights for the new bulbs, but the Berke administration decided only to replace those that burn out.

Here is the mayor's letter:

Dear Board Member,

Since taking office last year, I have worked each day to ensure our city government is more transparent, more efficient, and more effective in providing our citizens the services they fund. Whether through our Chattanooga Violence Reduction Initiative, Budgeting for Outcomes, pension reform, or our sweeping reorganization of government, our administration has focused on making sure our taxpayers get their money’s worth. I know you hold similar values and apply them to your service on EPB’s board.

In 2011, EPB management issued a letter to City Hall staff stating that overbilling had occurred for electricity, but concluded that due to other charges not being included, no net overbilling had actually occurred. Earlier this month, confusion and controversy again arose over this issue. EPB recently released an independent report acknowledging overcharges for electrical service to city government but concluded again that they did not result in net inflated payments by the City of Chattanooga to EPB. The report asserted that the misclassifications resulted in undercharges for hardware that were greater than overcharges for power consumption.

I urge you and the management at EPB to address these issues in a clear and financially responsible manner. Through my discussions with EPB management and the City Auditor, it is my understanding that the utility has been working closely with the Internal Audit office to assess the report’s conclusions. I strongly encourage this collaboration and would like to request that you take this work a step further.

Management should (1) calculate specific amounts for any undercharges for hardware as well as any overcharges for energy consumption, (2) calculate any effect of such charges on EPB customers who reside within Chattanooga, and (3) recommend action steps should a report conclude that city government has been overcharged. This undertaking should be made to audit standards and publicly released.

Please undertake these steps and respond as quickly as possible but no later than July 1, 2014. 

My goal is to ensure taxpayers are protected. We will pay for the energy we consume – no more and no less. I truly appreciate the effort that EPB management has put into providing information and cooperating with regards to this information.

I appreciate your attention and look forward to receiving this information. Please let me know if my office can be of assistance.

Sincerely,

Andy Berke


Additions And Improvements At Camp Jordan Arena Coming Soon

Additions and improvements are coming to Camp Jordan Arena in the near future. At the Thursday night meeting of the East Ridge city council, approval was given for buying new playground equipment. It will come from Gametime, a locally-based company. The VP of Marketing lives in East Ridge and made a proposal to set up the playground at Camp Jordan so his company could use it for ... (click for more)

First Protected Bicycle Lanes In Chattanooga To Be On Broad Street

Construction of the first protected bicycles lanes in Chattanooga will begin in Spring 2015 according to the Chattanooga Department of Transportation. The lanes will be downtown, going from Martin Luther King Boulevard to Aquarium Way on approximately .6 miles of Broad Street.   The street's current six through lanes will be reduced to four to make room for the bike ... (click for more)

Chairs Cost How Much?

Many times while growing up, I would go to the store with my parents. More often than not, I would see something I wanted, and ask my parents to buy it for me. More often than not, they said no. “Why?” I asked. “Son, money doesn’t grow on trees.” That’s a phrase I’m sure many of us have heard more than once over the course of our lives. However, I have since learned that they were ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Pete Carroll’s Philosophy

Pete Carroll, the head football coach of the Seattle Seahawks, has a deep belief that he can change people by simply listening to them and then making suggestions on how they can get what they really want. If the people Carroll who can influence win, Carroll wins, and remember his team won last year’s Super Bowl with his methods.   When asked for example, here is what ... (click for more)

Notre Dame Claims Region 4A/AA Soccer Title

Junior Sofia Olenchek scored twice, including the winning goal in the second overtime (95th minute) period as host Notre Dame defeated crosstown rival Chattanooga Christian 2-1, for the Region 4 A-AA championship Thursday night. In a well-played, physical match, CCS led at halftime, 1-0,  after senior Hannah Henry scored in the 14th minute, but Olenchek's first goal ... (click for more)

Baylor Beats Briarcrest For Shot At Father Ryan, DII-AA State Volleyball Title

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – OK, Father Ryan.  Baylor’s still hanging around. The Lady Red Raiders stormed past Briarcrest, 3-1, Thursday in the loser’s bracket final at Siegel Middle School and advanced to Friday’s Division II-AA volleyball tournament championship match. The set scores were 26-24, 25-15, 24-26, 25-15. The Lady Red Raiders lost to Father Ryan, ... (click for more)