Auditors find Public Utilities Commission fails to collect fines

first_imgThe California Public Utilities Commission lost the state more than $32 million since 1999 because of inept debt-collection practices that allowed telecommunication companies to skip out on fines, an audit released Tuesday says. State Controller John Chiang ordered the audit after a Contra Costa Times investigation published in April revealed that the commission didn’t collect fines levied on phone companies that ripped off consumers. While the audit confirms earlier findings of the Times, it also raises new questions about the commission’s financial controls. The commission has not undergone a comprehensive financial audit since 1992, the controller’s audit states. “It should be of significant concern to the (commission’s) management that the conditions identified in our review of the collection system may exist in other areas of the (commission’s) fiscal operations,” the controller’s audit states. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The audit also found that the commission doesn’t know if its fines are accurate because it fails to properly record them. “It is important that the commission improve its collection procedures to safeguard not only the state’s limited resources but also protect consumers who rely on the commission to protect their interests and their pocketbooks,” the audit states. Commission President Michael R. Peevey and Executive Director Paul Clanon did not return messages Tuesday. In a written response to the Controller’s Office, Clanon said new operating procedures for debt collection would be formally adopted and a comprehensive audit would be performed. No time frame was offered. [email protected]last_img read more

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