Council leaders faced with a £157 million funding shortfall have ordered checks of gas, electric and water bills to identify and reclaim any overpayments.
Derbyshire County Council is recruiting a company on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis to analyse £60million worth of energy bills for its 900 buildings over the last six years.
Councillor Brian Ridgway, Derbyshire County Council cabinet member for council services, said: “We’re faced with a huge funding shortfall due to the cuts imposed by the Coalition Government and are doing all we can to protect services and jobs.”
“The first task is to make sure our own house is in order and, like anyone during tough economic times, we want to make sure there is no leakage.”
“We’ve got nothing to lose and plenty to gain. The checks will cost us nothing and specialist firms tell us it could result in a claw back of overpayments of anything ranging from £44,000 to £4.8 million, and will help ensure similar overpayment mistakes aren’t made in future.”
A utility broker will now be recruited to go through invoices with a fine toothed comb to identify any overpayments, with any refunds expects by March 2014.