Century Gas Department Losses Top $1 Million In Four Years

November 5, 2019

Financial losses for the Town of Century gas department have surpassed $1 million during the last four fiscal years, and the town still can’t account for a large portion of the natural gas it purchases for resale. But they are continuing to work on several steps to curb the financial bleeding.

The gas department lost $222,304.75 for the fiscal year ending September 30, even after a $10,000 influx from the water department and $41,000 from the garbage fund. That loss total does not include another $125,000 in depreciation but does include $78,000 for new meters that are still being installed.

The gas fund lost $527,738 during the 2016 and 2017 fiscal years according to a grand jury investigation, and about $322,000 in FY 2018, according to a financial audit.

In September, the town could not account for 45% of natural gas purchased for resale, Town Manager Buz Eddy said. They’ve attributed the difference to inaccurate meters, a small number of users not receiving bills, and billing inaccuracies. The missing gas is not leaking.

The town has several major steps planned in the near team to reduce the gas department’s financial slide and perhaps even turn a profit.

Currently, Pensacola Energy is under contract to replace 10 commercial gas meters, including the meter at Century Correctional Institution, and the town is considering a proposal from Florida Public Utilities to replace the remainder of the commercial meters and all residential meters to increase billing accuracy. The town will also seek proposal for handheld meter reading devices to reduce human error.

The natural gas bill for Century Correctional Institution, the town’s largest natural gas customer, will be recalculated to account for meter inaccuracies.

Also during the previous fiscal year, the general fund had income about $75,000 greater than budgeted, water and sewer nearly $90,000 greater than the one cent that was budgeted, and garbage fund about $9,950 more than the zero projected.

Monday night, the Century Town Council approved a resolution amending the previous year’s budget to reflect the differences.

Century’s entire budget for the current 2019-2020 fiscal year is about $3.64 million for all departments.

NorthEscambia.com file photo.

Comments

31 Responses to “Century Gas Department Losses Top $1 Million In Four Years”

  1. Citizen on November 7th, 2019 7:10 pm

    @TU Mom

    Where is it leaking on state line road? Have you emailed them and have this in writing.

    A lot of this distribution system is out of the town limits out into D5 and to the state prison CCI.

  2. TUMom on November 7th, 2019 8:48 am

    I can tell you EXACTLY where some of the missing gas is going. Itis on stateline road. SEVERAL TIMES THIS LEAK HAS BEEN REPORTED TO THE OFFICE STAFF AND THEY KEEP SAYING THEY ARE GOING TO SEND SOMEONE OUT BUT THEY NEVER DO. A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF GAS IS LEAKING AT THIS SITE. If someone would dotheir job and get with the program they could save tons of gas by prparing this leak. Just sayinf.

  3. Duke of Wawbeek on November 7th, 2019 6:58 am

    @John Q Public.

    These officials should not be in this position in the first place. They are performing to the best of their abilities and have obviously reached the ceiling of their limitations.

    You must not have attended a public school John Q.

  4. Les Lassiter on November 6th, 2019 11:00 am

    It would be interesting to see the names of the persons that have received loans, the number & amount of loans they have received & the record on the payment(s) made towards the loan. I would also be interested in how this “loan process’ originated.

  5. I think this is urgent and alarming on November 6th, 2019 12:57 am

    This gas department need to be shut down. period. Century can not afford to replace the distribution lines. This is dangerous. This article mentioning Pensacola energy with a 4,5 % loss. A near 50 % loss that has been swept under the rug over the years by moving money around is beyond malfeasance and illegal
    in my opinion. If the people above this municipality in the State such as Mike Hill, the States attorney and the county commissioners and governor of Florida don’t wake up and call this what it is then they are all culpable. This is not a billing error. This is crumbling infrastructure ignored and a public safety issue and environmental disaster.

    I’m calling it. Do something.

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/09/23/gas-pipes-cast-iron-deaths-explosions-investigation/15783697/

  6. charlie Mike on November 5th, 2019 10:28 pm

    “I do suppose in some ways that failure through incompetence, is less egregious than failure by socialism.”

    Funny, especially when you fine Century folks will probably be saved by another grant (socialism) or handout (socialism). Wish you all could get your stuff together so my taxes don’t have to bail you out again.

  7. Q on November 5th, 2019 9:47 pm

    The archaic distribution lines are suspect. This may be indicative of a real public nuisance for public safety and the environment. How long have those pipes been underground. Gas can leak underground and be oxidized. A 50% loss should get the attention of people responsible. Century should put in a notice and turn it OFF. Government is not in place to take care of people. Why would anyone continue to let this go on after the no true bill grand jury of March 2019./ They made it clear.

  8. Gary Johnson on November 5th, 2019 5:52 pm

    Seems to me you find a problem by trouble shooting from the beginning of the line. I wonder if the gas supplier proves the meter and if anyone from the city witnesses this proving. You also have the right to have a 3rd party test it to see if it is accurate or not then go from house to house making sure all outlets have 1resident 1 meter. It is a start

  9. Citizen on November 5th, 2019 5:06 pm

    There is a term for this: Lost and Unaccounted for Gas– LAUG. The Florida Public service commission does NOT regulate a municipality utility. The States attorney did assemble a grand jury and reported on this how ever the Florida auditor general does not enforce things. It’s been brought to the attention of the Governor yet the people living there still have a committee looking to change the charter. Meanwhile Buzz comes in and finds a way to get some money himself. So what do you do?

    I wonder if the LOGT, although it was a gasoline tax has been used over time to prop this up. And the accountant allowed the cooking of the books because each is drawing a paycheck off the town perhaps. Although the new auditor has reflected this now as misappropriation of funds. It is just crazy when you look at the whole picture.

    However it’s similar to the county government and change orders — look at the road pavement on 99 and the bridge in district 2.. They will be a town hall and mealy mouth excuses. Look at national government and the democratic contenders. It’s like money is not real, just an imaginary concept.

    I would just send a notice if I was in charge — I’m shutting down the natural gas and people figure out their own problem individually.

    https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/2016/08/vt/icf-lauf-report.pdf

  10. BIG JOHN on November 5th, 2019 4:10 pm

    WHY CAN’T SOMEONE IN THE GAS DEPT. GET OUT ON FOOT AND WALK EACH BLOCK OF THE TOWN AND LOOK AT EACH METER AND HAVE A LIST OF EACH ONE THAT IS PAYING FOR THERE GAS AND IF THEY FINE ONE THAT IS NOT PAYING BUT THE THEY ARE GETTING CAS FREE TURN OFF THE GAS AND, PUT A LOCK ON THAT METER. MAYBE THIS IS THE FIRST STEP IN,YOU HAVE TO START SOME PLACE !!!!!!

  11. James on November 5th, 2019 2:36 pm

    @William
    I never stated the full volume of missing gas was leaking. However, it is feasible a certain number of cubic meters could be leaking at a location where adequate disbursement is occurring to prevent an ignition, or where there is not a sufficient heat source to result in ignition.

  12. Bowhunter on November 5th, 2019 2:15 pm

    Where’s Wally When You Need Him

  13. mat on November 5th, 2019 1:47 pm

    William, Thank You.
    I just had my laugh for the day.

  14. William Reynolds on November 5th, 2019 1:20 pm

    >>They can’t factually state the gas isn’t leaking if they can’t accurately account for it.

    Kind of, yeah. If that amount of gas was leaking, people in Pensacola would wonder what that fireball and explosion were.

  15. Bob on November 5th, 2019 12:32 pm

    William,

    Thank you for the correction. That was a mistake on my part. The math might be wrong but the message is still accurate!!!!

    Bob

  16. James on November 5th, 2019 12:25 pm

    They can’t factually state the gas isn’t leaking if they can’t accurately account for it. This is only a hopeful prayer to settle public nerves (aka a lie).

  17. M in Bratt on November 5th, 2019 12:02 pm

    Buzzsaw says “only a small number not getting bills” Reports had the number as 50%

    50% may not be much in Gulf Breeze, but it totally accounts for the “missing” gas. I still want to know who at the big table are/were getting free gas before that fiasco came to light

  18. Trisha on November 5th, 2019 12:00 pm

    Dave, The only people who receive money from a class action suit is the lawyers. It is the best scam around for them to rake in the money for themselves.

  19. William Reynolds on November 5th, 2019 11:48 am

    >> Century lost over $1.65 million over four years

    You added the $527,738 twice.

    ” lost $527,738 during the 2016 and 2017 fiscal years” — that the total for the two fiscal years.

  20. chris on November 5th, 2019 10:51 am

    “The educated citizens that understands law ” I guess they don’t understand sentence structure. If the citizens are plural then the understands would be singular. JS.

  21. Bob on November 5th, 2019 10:42 am

    FY2019 = $273,304.75
    FY2018 = $322,000.00
    FY2017 = $527,738.00
    FY2016 = $527,738.00

    TOTAL = 1,650,780.75

    The Town of Century lost over $1.65 million over four years. During this time we had customers that were getting free gas, personal loans to board members, employees using city automobiles for personal use and overall incompetence and corruption.

    I am tired of paying for this train wreck!!! How much money will be wasted before this shameful and disgraceful “circus show” is finally shut down?

  22. John Q. Public on November 5th, 2019 10:01 am

    @Duke of Wawbeek

    What are you talking about? Nobody in this situation has put a foot forward, let alone their best one. This is just gross negligence fueled by incompetence. What does any of this have to do with socialism?

  23. John on November 5th, 2019 9:45 am

    Why is it such a problem when the USA is now “Energy Independent”? I remember researching and learning that the USA has enough natural gas reserves to supply energy for Centuries! I guess it is implicit that if you reside in Century your gas bill is free.

  24. 429SCJ on November 5th, 2019 9:43 am

    Why does the Governor not just sigh an executive order, and simply disincorporate Century, dissolving the town’s charter.

  25. Dave on November 5th, 2019 9:28 am

    The educated citizens that understands law need to form a class action suit on the town management for fiscal maleficence and corruption…pure corruption
    The mayor would be the first sued..then the rest and the past ones that used the town citizens as a pay day loan

  26. Wayne on November 5th, 2019 9:24 am

    This is proof positive that The Jerry Springer Show cant manage a town

  27. retired on November 5th, 2019 7:58 am

    will all gas customer, will be recalculated to account for meter inaccuracies, like they are doing for the prison?

    WOULD STILL LIKE TO SEE A LIST OF CUSTOMERS RECEIVING FREE GAS

  28. sam on November 5th, 2019 7:03 am

    the city management screws up and we pay higher taxes to bail em out. it never ends.

  29. Oversight on November 5th, 2019 5:54 am

    If the town doesn’t know where all the system taps are and customers are not billed for it, this will never get better. It was reported that there are 900 plus taps into the system (inspection report on the gas system). Then add that the town bills haphazardly for 300 or customers it know about. Replacing a few meters here or there won’t cover the free gas that bleeds the system. Recall the emergency gas leaking under highway 29? It is suspected that the gas wasn’t leaking under the road, but was being given away as it still is today.

  30. gman on November 5th, 2019 5:39 am

    This town is a hot mess.

  31. Duke of Wawbeek on November 5th, 2019 5:33 am

    I do suppose in some ways that failure through incompetence, is less egregious than failure by socialism.

    At least the put their best foot forward and tried, no evil design in their hearts.





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