Chattanooga City Council punts on millions in EPB overbilling

photo Zach Smith assembles the wiring for a LED streetlight at Global Green Lighting's facility.

photo A light fixture lies on the counter at Global Green Lighting.

The City Council on Tuesday brushed off warnings that city-owned utility EPB may have overbilled Chattanooga taxpayers for millions of dollars in electricity that was never consumed.

Following a attorney-client privileged meeting that excluded members of the public, council members postponed for two weeks any decision or discussion of the city's 27,000-streetlight replacement program, which city auditor Stan Sewell revealed has been tainted by erroneous bills from EPB.

Sewell found that while EPB through the years has replaced many of its high-wattage mercury vapor lights with lower-wattage high-pressure sodium lights, taxpayers were still paying millions of dollars in higher electric bills for lights that were no longer on the poles.