Connecticut Light and Power owes the city at least $606,000 for past overbilling of streetlight charges, city officials said.
Ken Johnson, a consultant from Municipal Energy and former GOP mayoral contender, said that his company and city employees have found scores of mistakes that cost the taxpayers big bucks.
In one case, he said, the power company including charges for a streetlight on Get High Way, a non-existent street. Johnson said the name likely described what the utility crew was doing at the time.
Under orders from the state Department of Utility Control, CL&P offered two years ago to pay Bristol $86,839 for billing errors.
Mitch Gross, spokesman for the power company, has said the company had “some shortcomings” in its billing but fixed them after digging deep into its records to bring the issue to a close.
Bristol is one of 50 Connecticut municipalities challenging the state-ordered payment levels. City leaders are meeting Monday with the officials from the attorney general’s office to review their case.
City councilors this week unanimously backed the effort to collect more than $606,000 from the utility after hearing what Johnson reported his firm had found.
“We finally got this thing off the dime,” city Councilor Mike Rimcoski said.
Rimcoski said that given the “poor management” by CL&P over the years, he’s confident the city will collect much more than the $86,839 initially offered even if Bristol winds up with less than it is seeking.
It’s likely to take at least a couple of years to complete the appeal, Johnson said.
Municipal Energy was hired a year and a half ago for $10,000 plus 15 percent of whatever the city earns above $86,000 originally offered by the utility giant.
If the city were to get $$606,000, Johnson’s firm would collect about $87,000 for its services.
Johnson ran for mayor last year, but lost to Democrat Art Ward. His company was hired by the city, which has long been controlled by Democrats, before he entered the race.
Johnson had a rocky relationship with former Mayor William Stortz, but Johnson and city officials said that since Ward took over, there has been a cooperative spirit between the consultant and the city.
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