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$150,000 REFUNDED FOR OVERCHARGES

Cheektowaga has received a $150,000 refund for overcharges from New York State Electric & Gas for street lighting.

The town engaged Troy & Banks, an Amherst consulting firm, to pour over bills and records to see if the town had been charged too much by the utility.

"It's a significant amount of money that is coming back to the town," Supervisor Dennis H. Gabryszak said.

NYSEG agreed to pay the town $300,000 to settle the claims from 1994 through June 30 pertaining to data disputes, interest rates, back-billing and refunds.

The town's contract with the consultant allows Troy & Banks to keep half of what is recovered for the town.

Under the settlement negotiated by Troy & Banks, the terms of the agreement were to be kept confidential, despite the fact a municipality was involved.

When the Town Board approved the settlement in August, town staff members said they could not divulge the specifics of the settlement.

The Buffalo News obtained a copy of the settlement agreement after filing a Freedom of Information Act request with the town.

"That's the way Troy & Banks settled it. They didn't want us to publicize it, I guess," Town Attorney Michael J. Stachowski said.

Troy & Banks negotiated a settlement with Adelphia Cable earlier this year that resulted in the town receiving a check for $110,202.50 for unpaid franchise fees.

Gabryszak said every time the town has hired Troy & Banks, the firm has discovered the town is owed some money.

"This is probably the largest refund we've gotten," he said.

e-mail: bobrien@buffnews.com

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