UPDATE: EPB CEO releases clarifying statement about "overbilling - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: EPB CEO releases clarifying statement about "overbilling" issue

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - UPDATE:     The controversy between Chattanooga and EPB over a billing issue continues.  At Tuesday night's city council meeting, EPB acknowledged overbilling the city more than 1.2 million dollars for streetlights.

The controversy came to light back in April after a city audit revealed discrepancies in EPB's street light billing classifications.  While EPB says they never admitted to overbilling the city, it did say it was in agreement about the mis-classification of the lights.  

The CEO and President of EPB released a clarifying statement Wednesday, saying, in part, "EPB has never said that we owe the city.."
and "when all the facts are taken into account, the financial difference is close to a wash."

It's unclear if the local utility will pay back the city.  Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke has created a work group to find a solution.  
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It's turning into a back and forth war of words between EPB and the city regarding the findings of a recent billing issue. 

The Chattanooga auditor claims EPB overcharged the city over 1.2 million dollars.

In front of council members Tuesday, Auditor Stan Sewell said he would be embarrassed if he were running the accounting department at the power board.

“We don't expect perfection, but the level of inventory errors that were evident are unacceptable,” District 4 Councilman Larry Grohn said.

Strong words from Chattanooga City Council members after an audit reveals EPB over billed the city $1.2 million.

“We have to learn from this process. I think EPB has realized they have to be more diligent in their accounting principles and their data collection principles,” Grohn added.

Sewell told council members in April discrepancies were discovered in EPB's street light billing classifications during deployment of the new LED Global Green lights.

Out of EPB's 26,000 lights in the city, around 6,000 consumed less energy than what EPB billed.

But despite the most recent audit, President and CEO of EPB Harold DePriest still believes the billing is balanced.

He told Channel 3 through a statement, “From the beginning, EPB's only goal has been to fully understand the issue, so we can make it right. A careful examination has shown there were under billings which largely offset the over billings.”

Global Green Lighting Owner Don Lepard has filed a lawsuit against EPB and told Channel 3 through a statement, “Nearly a year after I first told the city and EPB that there was an overcharge, I am pleased that all parties now agree on that. We are very confident on our position and we look forward to getting to court to settle just how large the overcharge is.”

Grohn wants all side to move forward and work on finding a solution.

“We can become more transparent, more efficient and in the long run, everyone in the city can benefit from that,” he said.

The mayor has created a working group to come up with a solution.
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