After all of the legal and political wrangling in 2007, the Illinois Power Agency seemed a dream come true. An agency that guaranteed to keep electrical prices competitive or they would step in and buy electricity for the state at a set rate. They published the staffing requirements in the newspaper. They were excessive I thought at the time. They wanted Ph.d.s and Masters degrees in pretty exotic subjects like power generation analysis and such. But now they have hired only 2 staff out of what was supposed to be 25. Wow! Where is Lisa Madigan now?
Thursday, April 7,2011
State’s power buyer under fire
Audit shows problems at Illinois Power Agency
By Patrick Yeagle
The state agency responsible for buying Illinois’ electricity is under fire after an annual audit showed numerous problems with accounting and transparency.
A March 24 report by Illinois Auditor General William Holland says the Illinois Power Agency (IPA) needs to correct 35 “weaknesses” in financial transparency, rulemaking and more. The report admonishes IPA for storing money outside the state treasury, failing to create an annual budget and even lacking basic office supplies.
Among the more major issues identified in the audit is a lack of financial reporting and accounting records maintained by IPA.
“… [F]or the second year in a row, the agency did not provide accurate and complete financial information,” the audit states. “Specifically, the financial information provided did not contain all the necessary information regarding funds held outside of the state treasury.”
One of the most unusual problems identified by the audit was a lack of adequate staff. IPA director Mark Pruitt is one of only two employees in the entire agency, and the second employee, chief financial officer Kristene Callanta, was only hired in January 2011 – after the period covered in the audit. The lack of staffing coincides with the agency’s failure to create specialized bureaus to handle certain tasks, the audit shows.
“Failure to create these required bureaus is a violation of state statute,” the audit says. “In addition, because these bureaus were not created, the director had the sole responsibility for scoring all proposals and selecting winners for the procurement process, which could result in an abuse of power.”
dot dot dot as they say
For example, a 2007 complaint filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan says prices produced by auctions were “almost 40 percent higher than prices in bilateral electricity markets… and they were produced in a highly concentrated market in which there is evidence of price manipulation.”
To view the IPA audit and others, visit www.auditor.illinois.gov
Contact Patrick Yeagle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I mean I know that in 2008 there was all the worry about then Governor Blago’s corrupt hiring practices but this is really an over reaction. More tomorrow.