Lubbock Power and Light Audit Halted Due to Conflict
An audit regarding allegations of bid rigging within Lubbock Power and Light has been stopped.
Early Friday afternoon,Lubbock Power and Lightissued an official statement regarding the investigation, which was initiated by the City’s Electric Utility Board on October 23rd.
The EUB chose the Houston-based law firm of Andrews Kurth to perform the audit.
According to the the City-owned utility, LP&L General Counsel Todd Kimbrough has been informed by the firm that Lubbock City Manager James Loomis and City Attorney Sam Medina have asked them to withdraw from any further work on the RFP audit due to the fact that the firm currently serves as bond counsel to the City of Lubbock.
LP&L says that all work that has been conducted on the audit of the utility’s RFP process is valid, and will be used in the report that will ultimately be presented to the EUB.
The EUB will discuss the issue and choose another auditor during their November 4th meeting, where they will also discuss the employment status of LP&L CEO Gary Zheng.
In a press release, LP&L said “It is the understanding of the utility that the audit process was nearing completion before being informed of this perceived conflict. The firm selected to complete the audit will be briefed and all work conducted up to this point will be given to the contracted firm.”
The controversy continues with LP&L’s bidding process, with EUB member and former Lubbock Mayor Marc McDougal calling for the board to reject all bids for a new power generation station and start the process from the beginning.
LP&L's complete press release is included below.
"For the past week and a half, the law firm of Andrews Kurth has been in the process of conducting a complete and thorough audit of Lubbock Power and Light’s RFP process as it pertains to future generation. The audit was initiated by the Electric Utility Board in a special called meeting held Wednesday, October 23 after issues were raised concerning the overall process.
"Andrews Kurth was chosen to conduct the audit based on their extensive experience and sterling reputation on energy matters. The General Counsel of LP&L has been informed by the firm that the City Manager and City Attorney for Lubbock have asked them to withdraw from any further work on the RFP audit due to the fact that the firm currently serves as bond counsel to the City of Lubbock.
"The work that has been conducted on the audit of LP&L’s RFP process up to this point is valid and will be used in the greater report that will ultimately be presented to the Electric Utility Board. The Board will discuss the matter in their already scheduled meeting on Monday, November 4th in order to determine an alternate third party to complete the audit.
"It is the understanding of the utility that the audit process was nearing completion before being informed of this perceived conflict. The firm selected to complete the audit will be briefed and all work conducted up to this point will be given to the contracted firm.
"Transparency and accountability are vital and are the driving forces behind the decision to conduct such a comprehensive review of the process. LP&L and the Electric Utility Board remain committed to a thorough review process and moving forward to bring the audit to a satisfactory completion. LP&L and the Electric Utility Board remain focused on the long-term goal of providing a reliable source of affordable electricity for the citizens of Lubbock for many years to come."