B-146265, OCT. 13, 1961

B-146265: Oct 13, 1961

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DIVISION OF UTILITIES FISCAL CONTROL: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 12. WE HAVE SECURED THE AVERAGE MONTHLY AND QUARTERLY TEMPERATURES FOR THE CITY OF CLEVELAND FROM MAY 1 TO NOVEMBER 1. THERE IS NO UNIFORMITY IN THE RELATIONSHIP OF CONSUMPTION TO TEMPERATURE. 1954 AND 1955 WERE 53. THE CONSUMPTION IS IN DIRECT RATIO TO THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE. THE AVERAGE FOR 1955 AND 1957 WAS IDENTICAL. THE CONSUMPTION FOR 1955 WAS MORE THAN 25 PERCENT HIGHER THAN 1957. EVEN ASSUMING THAT DURING THE WARMER MONTHS THERE IS A CLOSER RELATION BETWEEN TEMPERATURE AND CONSUMPTION. THE PATIENT LOAD WAS BELOW NORMAL. THAT THE SOUTH METER STARTED REGISTERING A HIGHER CONSUMPTION THAN THE NORTH METER IN AUGUST 1958 AND THAT AFTER THE CHECK VALVES WERE CLEANED AND REASSEMBLED IN FEBRUARY 1960 THE SOUTH METER REGISTERED LOWER CONSUMPTION.

B-146265, OCT. 13, 1961

TO CITY OF CLEVELAND, DIVISION OF UTILITIES FISCAL CONTROL:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 12, 1961, AND PRIOR CORRESPONDENCE, RELATIVE TO YOUR CLAIM FOR $4,190.20 ADDITIONAL WATER AND SEWER USAGE CHARGES FOR THE PERIOD AUGUST 1 TO NOVEMBER 1, 1959, AT THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL, CLEVELAND, OHIO.

WITH REFERENCE TO YOUR COMPARISON OF WEATHER BUREAU RECORDS FOR 1955 AND 1959, WE HAVE SECURED THE AVERAGE MONTHLY AND QUARTERLY TEMPERATURES FOR THE CITY OF CLEVELAND FROM MAY 1 TO NOVEMBER 1, FOR THE YEARS 1953 THROUGH 1960, AS WELL AS THE AVERAGE ANNUAL TEMPERATURES FOR THESE YEARS,AND THERE IS NO UNIFORMITY IN THE RELATIONSHIP OF CONSUMPTION TO TEMPERATURE. THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURES FOR THE YEARS 1953, 1954 AND 1955 WERE 53, 52.3 AND 51 DEGREES, RESPECTIVELY, A SLIGHT DROP EACH YEAR, BUT THE CONSUMPTION INCREASED EACH YEAR, AS SHOWN IN YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 13, 1961. HOWEVER, FOR THE YEARS 1956, 1957 AND 1958, THE CONSUMPTION IS IN DIRECT RATIO TO THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE, INSTEAD OF THE REVERSE AS IN THE THREE PRECEDING YEARS. ALSO, THE AVERAGE FOR 1955 AND 1957 WAS IDENTICAL, 51 DEGREES, BUT THE CONSUMPTION FOR 1955 WAS MORE THAN 25 PERCENT HIGHER THAN 1957. EVEN ASSUMING THAT DURING THE WARMER MONTHS THERE IS A CLOSER RELATION BETWEEN TEMPERATURE AND CONSUMPTION, A COMPARISON OF THE QUARTERS ENDING NOVEMBER 1 FOR THE YEARS 1955 AND 1959 WOULD REQUIRE THE CONCLUSION THAT CONSUMPTION IN THE 1959 QUARTER SHOULD BE LESS THAN THE 4,878 M CUBIC FEET CONSUMED IN 1955, SINCE 200 ARMY PERSONNEL HAD MOVED OUT ON SEPTEMBER 1, 1959, AND THE PATIENT LOAD WAS BELOW NORMAL.

AS TO THE CONCLUSIVENESS OF YOUR TESTS FOR ACCURACY OF THE METERS, WE NOTE YOUR STATEMENT IN LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 12, 1961, THAT THE SOUTH METER STARTED REGISTERING A HIGHER CONSUMPTION THAN THE NORTH METER IN AUGUST 1958 AND THAT AFTER THE CHECK VALVES WERE CLEANED AND REASSEMBLED IN FEBRUARY 1960 THE SOUTH METER REGISTERED LOWER CONSUMPTION, WHICH THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HAD CONTENDED SHOULD BE THE CASE DUE TO THE PIPING SYSTEM. THIS WOULD INDICATE THAT CONSUMPTION WAS NOT BEING ACCURATELY RECORDED IN THE INTERIM.

ALSO, THE RECORD SHOWS THAT A METER COULD BE REGISTERING ACCURATELY ONE DAY AND BE OFF THE NEXT. IN THIS CONNECTION IT APPEARS THAT THE SOUTHMETER WAS SET TO ZERO ON DECEMBER 3, 1959, AND THAT ON DECEMBER 21, 1959, IT READ 464,300 CUBIC FEET; ON JANUARY 11, 1960, 21 DAYS LATER, IT READ 868,100 CUBIC FEET; BUT ON FEBRUARY 1, 1960, EXACTLY 21 DAYS LATER, THE READING WAS 2,304,200 CUBIC FEET, WHICH REPRESENTED CONSUMPTION OF MORE THAN THREE AND ONE-HALF TIMES THAT OF THE PRECEDING 21-DAY PERIOD, AND SINCE THERE HAD BEEN NO LEAKS, NO OVERFLOW OF THE TANK AND NO UNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCES TO CAUSE SUCH A TREMENDOUS INCREASE, IT SEEMS OBVIOUS THAT THE METER WAS NOT REGISTERING CORRECTLY. YOU APPARENTLY RECOGNIZED THIS FACT SINCE YOU REDUCED THE CONSUMPTION FOR THE QUARTER ENDING FEBRUARY 1, 1960, BY 1,000,000 CUBIC FEET TO A FIGURE OF 1,304,200. THERE IS SOME INDICATION IN THE FILE THAT YOU MAY HAVE CONSIDERED 2,304,200 CUBIC FEET TO BE AN ERRONEOUS READING BY YOUR METER READER, BUT A VETERANS ADMINISTRATION EMPLOYEE CHECKED THE SOUTH METER A COUPLE OF DAYS BEFORE FEBRUARY 1, 1960, AND READ VERY NEARLY THE SAME AMOUNT.

NEITHER THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION NOR THIS OFFICE IS ATTEMPTING TO BE ARBITRARY IN THIS MATTER, BUT THE FOREGOING RAISES A SERIOUS QUESTION AS TO THE ACCURACY OF THE RECORDED CONSUMPTION OF 5,196 M CUBIC FEET FOR THE QUARTER ENDING NOVEMBER 1, 1959. THIS FIGURE IS NOT ONLY THE HIGHEST FOR ANY COMPARABLE QUARTER FOR THE PERIOD FEBRUARY 1, 1952, THROUGH MAY 1, 1961, BUT IS EXCEEDED DURING THIS ENTIRE PERIOD ONLY BY THE QUARTER ENDING AUGUST 1, 1955.

THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HAS MADE PAYMENT FOR 3,761 M CUBIC FEET BASED ON THE AVERAGE FOR THE NOVEMBER 1 QUARTER DURING 1956, 1957 AND 1958. WE EXTEND THIS TO INCLUDE THE NOVEMBER 1 QUARTER FOR 1954, 1955 AND 1960 WHICH ARE THE ONLY ADDITIONAL YEARS FOR WHICH WE HAVE EXACT FIGURES, THE AVERAGE WOULD BE 4,252 M CUBIC FEET, OR AN ADDITIONAL 491M CUBIC FEET. HOWEVER, SINCE THE DURATION AND EXTENT OF THE APPARENT ERRONEOUS RECORDING IS NOT KNOWN AND SINCE IT IS APPARENTLY AGREED THAT THE METERS RECORDED CORRECTLY AFTER THEY WERE SERVICED IN FEBRUARY 1960, WE ARE WILLING TO GO ONE STEP FURTHER AND SETTLE ON THE BASIS OF CONSUMPTION FOR THE QUARTER ENDING NOVEMBER 1, 1960, WHICH WAS 4,567 M CUBIC FEET. THIS FIGURE APPROACHES THE CONSUMPTION OF 4,878 M CUBIC FEET IN THE QUARTER ENDING NOVEMBER 1, 1955, AND BEARS A REASONABLE RELATION THERETO IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE HOSPITAL WAS NOT IN FULL OPERATION IN 1959.

PAYMENT FOR THIS ADDITIONAL 806 M CUBIC FEET (4,567 MINUS 3,761) AT THE COMBINED WATER AND SEWER USAGE RATE OF $2.92 WOULD BE IN THE AMOUNT OF $2,353.52. IF YOU ARE WILLING TO ACCEPT THIS SUM IN FULL SETTLEMENT FOR THE QUARTER ENDING NOVEMBER 1, 1959, AND WILL SO ADVISE US, WE WILL AUTHORIZE PAYMENT.