Verizon overbilled Erie County by nearly one million dollars

Posted at 11:46 AM, Sep 22, 2017

The Erie County Division of Information and Support Services , working in conjunction with the consulting  firm Troy & Banks, has discovered a significant overbilling by Verizon for telephone voice and data services provided to the county.  An audit reviewed all Erie County utility bills, including gas, water, electric, and telephone and discovered that Verizon had overbilled the county by approximately $900,000.  A portion of this amount has been refunded to Erie County already with the remainder to follow.

Troy & Banks will receive an amount equal to 24% of the recovered amount, or approximately $216,000, for their contractually authorized services in uncovering the overbilling. The audit also uncovered overbilling of approximately $25,000 in utilities in the Public Works and Central Police Services departments, which was mostly refunded in 2016.

"This is a substantial amount of overbilling and I thank DISS Commissioner Michael Breeden, Budget Director Robert Keating, and the staff at Troy & Banks for working together to identify the issue and begin the refund process. Without their sharp eyes and vigilance this issue may have gone unresolved," said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. "This work shows what an actual, factual audit conducted with integrity can do to protect taxpayers and ensure that vendors are fair in their billing."

Troy & Banks was originally engaged by Erie County to conduct utility audits in 2007 and was re-engaged in 2015 with Legislature approval. This audit, which was conducted at no cost to Erie County, covered the time period from March 1, 2015 – December 31, 2016. Refund checks from Verizon totaling $900,189.82, from which the Troy & Banks portion will be deducted, will be received and deposited in county accounts by mid-October.