Auditor: EPB partially at fault for green lighting fiasco

photo Acorn lights sit on the assembly line at the Global Green Lights plant opening in Chattanooga. The new facility is the result of Global Green Lights moving its manufacturing from China to the U.S.

BY THE NUMBERSCost of lights: $18 millionCity projected cost: $27.5 millionAuditor projected cost: $24 millionSource: Office of internal audit

Chattanooga Auditor Stan Sewell released a report late Friday that fingered EPB for the spiraling cost of the city's streetlight replacement project, bolstering the case of Global Green Lighting in its feud with the city-owned utility.

Asked by the City Council to sort out the protracted kerfuffle among EPB, Global Green Lighting and Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke's administration, Sewell found that fuzzy maintenance figures, millions of dollars in ongoing charges and a $5 million "billing discrepancy" introduced by EPB were the primary drivers behind the high price of replacing the city's 26,551 streetlights.