Friday, February 01, 2002

Cinergy: Stadium was underbilled

Error means county will pay more for energy

By Dan Klepal
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Hamilton County taxpayers will have to pay for energy used but not billed over the past 17 months at Paul Brown Stadium.

        Cinergy Corp. says it made a mistake calculating the bills at Paul Brown Stadium, and is trying to figure out how much the county has been underbilled since August 2000.

        The county paid $1.27 million for energy in 2001 — an average of $106,000 per month. The county is reimbursed for a portion of that by the Cincinnati Bengals and ProScan Imaging, both of whom have office space in the stadium.

        No one with the county or with the stadium management company was aware of the problem Thursday.

        Dave Woodburn, a Cinergy spokesman, said state regulations allow energy companies to collect on such mistakes — even if they are the company's fault.

        Cinergy officials should have the county's bill calculated early next week, he said. Mr. Woodburn declined to say if Cinergy will try to collect the full amount.

        “We're going to take a look at the bill and make a determination,” he said.

        The problem apparently happened because a computer code was entered incorrectly, Mr. Woodburn said.

        Eric Brown, stadium manager, said there was nothing that would have tipped off officials that they were being undercharged, he said.

        “What we budgeted for energy use and what we paid were pretty much in line,” said Mr. Brown, who is no relation to Bengals owner Mike Brown.


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