Cincinnati racks up more than $130,000 in late fees to Duke Energy

Duke Energy signage in Charlotte
Duke Energy signage in Charlotte The Charlotte Observer

The city of Cincinnati fell behind on its bills to Charlotte-based Duke Energy last year, racking up more than $130,000 in fines.

The local utility powers a couple hundred locations throughout the Ohio city, City Manager Harry Black told WLWT5, a Cincinnati news station.

Ohio is one of the six states in which Duke Energy, the nation’s largest electric utility, operates. The others are North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana and Kentucky

Black said it was “extreme decentralization” among city buildings and the lack of a “single point of accountability” that led to the steep fines.

“You’ve got a couple hundred-plus bills that are coming from a particular utility to a couple hundred different locations in the city. Someone has to sit down and say, ‘OK. Hey, does this make sense? Is this rational?’ It may seem simple to most people, but a lot of times it doesn't work that way,” Black told the station.

To address the issue, workers in Cincinnati’s new Office of Performance and Data Analytics identified the impact the fees were having on the city and spent three days this summer with city department heads to come up with a solution, the station reported.

City leaders spent time in what’s known as the Innovation Lab, where they figured out a “new way” to pay bills on time and avoid such fees. It wasn’t immediately clear what their solution was.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta