EPB Hires Independent CPA Firm to Complete Street Lighting Audit

Reported by: Amy Katcher
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Updated: 6/03 6:38 pm
(WDEF)  Board member Joe Ferguson announced Tuesday EPB hired an independent firm to complete a thorough audit of Chattanooga's street lighting program.
        He said, "Upon receiving the mayor's letter yesterday we welcome the opportunity he's given us to respond to that letter and honor all of his requests."
        It comes after some confusion about the way EPB bills the city for its streetlights.
        EPB President and CEO Harold DePriest said, "The issue that I think may have started all of this mis-communication was that about a year ago we got concerned that we might have some lights mis-qualified, mis-classified is what I'm trying to say.  Meaning we were calling them high pressure sodium when they were mercury vapor or the other way around."
        So EPB took four months and verified exactly which type of light is where, among the city's 26,000 locations.
        DePriest added, "Our main issue in looking at it was, 'Okay has this changed what we ought to be billing the city?'"
        DePreist said EPB met with the city last year and got it sorted out. So he was shocked when he heard reports that EPB over-charged the city.  "Let me just say very plainly that is not in the city's report from their auditor.  Go read it," DePreist said Tuesday.
        Now he says Mayor Berke wants to get the matter settled once and for all, by going over the report with a fine-toothed comb.
        DePriest explained, "My internal auditors have already looked at it and told me everything looks good.  Okay?  So I'm comfortable with what my people tell us."
        Even though a lot of the confusion started after the city ended its contract with Global Green Lighting, DePriest says the two are not connected.  "To me, you get this cleared up and then the city makes their decisions about Global Green and we don't play a role in that," DePriest said.
     Officials hope the audit will be finished by July first.
     It will then be available to the Mayor, his staff, the City Council and all EPB customers.
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