It took more than two years, but the City of Morgan Hill is finally caught up on its light bills.
The City Council last week approved paying PG&E about $79,900 out of the City’s general fund reserve to pay the back bills. The bills, which date to the 2009-2010 fiscal year, are for streetlight energy costs.
The lack of payment was the result of mutual confusion by the City and the utility company, over the volume and varying schedules of payments on the City’s many utility accounts with PG&E, according to City staff.
PG&E notified City staff in late 2011 that the payments were past due, according to Morgan Hill Program Administrator Anthony Eulo.
City staff disagreed about the amount, and the two parties spent the next year exchanging and comparing payment records, and eventually agreed the City owed PG&E about $79,900, Eulo said.
How exactly the bills - a total of four monthly payments - went unpaid for so long couldn’t be determined because the staff directly responsible for paying PG&E bills at the time no longer work for the City, Eulo said.
But Eulo thinks the complexity of utility billing, owing in part to the fact the City has 39 PG&E bills representing more than 200 accounts to keep track of each month, is at least partly to blame, Eulo said.
The City’s typical monthly bill just for its 3,700 streetlights is about $24,000, Eulo said. The City cut its streetlight energy and maintenance costs by about $60,000 last year when it converted many of the streetlights to energy efficient LEDs.