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


Robber Hits Collegedale Credit Union

A robber struck at the Collegedale Credit Union on University Drive on Thursday afternoon. Police said a man entered the credit union about 2:30 p.m. He handed over a note that demanded money. The man said he had a gun, but did not display one. He left on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash. The robber was described as a white male around 5'11". (click for more)

Fort Oglethorpe Arrest Report For July 25-31

Here is the Fort Oglethorpe arrest report for July 25-31: John Alan Suggs, 35, of 222 South Center Street, Rossville was arrested July 29 on charges of giving false name and false information to police and theft by shoplifting. Jennifer Lynn Joy, 37, 429 Guyler Street, Ringgold was arrested July 28 on a charge of theft by taking. Ronald Jason Hendricks, 36, of 1313 ... (click for more)

Curtis Adams: Beck, Mackey Should Be Considered For County Commission Leadership

Just think about this;  a person highly qualified applying for a job.  As he is just about finished filling out his papers for his interview, he sees at the bottom there is a place for him to check Democrat or Republican.  He would think, “if I mark the wrong one I may not get the job.” Being a real leader requires honesty, integrity, and, most importantly, fairness. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Orchids And Onions

With record low temperatures being recorded around the South, I didn’t know what I’d find in my garden on the first day of August but – sure enough -- there is a profusion of orchids and onions. The start of college football will be later this month and, with the chilly mornings, fall practice is a far cry from what it will be when the sweltering heat comes back next week. Here’s ... (click for more)

Jones, Vols Meet The Press A Day Before Fall Football Begins

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- What did  Butch Jones  have to say about Tennessee’s 2014 football team on the eve of the Vols' first practice? Find out in this transcript of Thursday’s press conference:  HEAD COACH BUTCH JONES (Opening Statement) "It's great to see everyone, and I hope everyone had a great summer. We will hold an open practice on Saturday ... (click for more)

Jane Webb Is A Fun-Loving Runner At Heart

Jane Webb isn’t one of those people who started running when she was a kid, but she loves the benefits since she restarted her running career about four years ago. She’s all about being active and doing things that are good for you,   but long-distance running never really captured her attention and she’s found that she can receive the same payoff by covering ... (click for more)