Audit Confirms No Double Billing
Independent Audit Confirms No Double Billing of AIT Utility Accounts
March 7, 2018
An independent audit by TRP CPAs, PLLC has found no indication of double billing or a pattern of systematic overbilling by the Fayetteville Public Works Commission related to claims by Advanced Internet Technologies.
TRP CPAs, PLLC, is a Certified Public Accountant firm with offices in Fayetteville, Dunn and Sanford and was asked in January to conduct an audit of the AIT billing after AIT publically accused PWC of double billing.
“The Commission was confident that the TRP audit of the AIT billing would confirm fair billing for this account,” said PWC Commissioner Wade Fowler. “From the beginning, we disagreed with the claims that we had overbilled AIT and we attempted to provide factual information to Mr. Briggs to show the accuracy of PWC’s billing.
“We believe that TRP’s report validates PWC’s information was accurate and the AIT claims were unfounded. This information should be used to set the record straight from the AIT claims. For those who have called for an audit of PWC billing, I believe TRP’s audit meets the intent of those requests.”
TRP reviewed the AIT account information that included a unique electricity metering system that was requested by AIT in 2000. Because of the arrangement, AIT’s bills were prepared manually. TRP compiled the monthly metering and billing data for a 10-year period from January 2007-November 2017 and computed its own calculations.
During the review, TRP did find several minor clerical errors that had been previously disclosed and credited back to AIT. Those errors occurred over 11 years and over 100 months of billing and were less than $150.00.
Following the audit, Jason Poole, CPA reported TRP did not find double billing or systematic overbilling. He noted that the PWC billings were always consistent with TRP’s calculations and accurately reflected the total usage and demand recorded for the AIT facility.
“Now that the audit is complete, I believe it is important to also address other AIT’s public claims including one that an independent auditor could not conduct an unbiased investigation, “ said David Trego, PWC CEO and General Manager. “This has no merit because a Certified Public Accountant takes an oath to disclose the truth and can lose their license if they do not.”
Other AIT claims have also questioned the oversight and regulation of PWC. One question has been if PWC is not regulated by the NC Utility Commission, how can customers know they are not being overbilled. The NC Utility Commission has rate regulation only over private, for-profit utilities to prevent excessive shareholder profits at the expense of ratepayers. PWC is a public authority. We have no shareholders. We do not earn profits. We are a part of this community and have absolutely no reason to overbill our customers, many of whom are our friends and neighbors.
The Fayetteville City Council appoints the PWC Board who has the responsibility, obligation and takes an oath to oversee the PWC operations and ensure that PWC operates according to North Carolina law. The City also independently picks an accounting firm to perform an annual audit of PWC’s finances and accounts. This auditor, whose opinion is on PWC Web, have not raised any issues related to PWC revenues that we receive from customers.
If PWC were altering customer meters, as AIT has claimed, that would be seen by the federal government.
As Trego explained, “Each year PWC has to report to Department of Energy the efficiency of our electric system. The total electricity we bill to our customers is compared to all the electricity we buy from Duke Energy. If PWC overbilled customers for electricity they did not use, this calculation would show that we billed customers for more electricity than we bought from Duke. If any customer would like to see these annual reports, which are signed under penalty of perjury, to confirm that we have never sold more energy than we purchased or generated, we will be happy to provide a link to the reports.”