Mayor Fears Council Won’t Investigate LP&L

Lubbock Mayor Glen Robertson does not believe he has enough votes on the City Council to initiate an investigation of Lubbock Power & Light.

By James Clark

(LUBBOCK, TX) - Lubbock Mayor Glen Robertson does not believe he has enough votes on the City Council to initiate an investigation of Lubbock Power & Light.  LP&L might conduct its own investigation after the Mayor publicly repeated allegations of bid rigging. 

“I’m not accusing anyone of anything,” Robertson told EverythingLubbock.com.  He said the allegations surfaced after a closed-door meeting of the LP&L board last week.

The LP&L board of directors meets again on Wednesday morning in special session.  Council meets on Thursday.

One line item on Wednesday’s LP&L agenda allows the board to reassign or even fire Executive Director Gary Zheng.  Another line item allows an “investigation regarding alleged improper generation procurement activities…”

During the last week LP&L has not commented on the allegations except for a brief statement from Board Chairman Gail Kring who said the accusations would be fully investigated.

Robertson told EverythingLubbock.com that Council members have “lots of reasons” for not wanting to investigate LP&L. 

“They’ll say LP&L has its own investigation,” the Mayor said.  His observation is contingent upon the results of Wednesday’s board meeting.

LP&L is owned by the City of Lubbock. However, because of a 2004 charter election, local voters gave the utility its own board of directors and a certain level of autonomy for day-to-day operations.  City Council retains final approval of LP&L’s budget and rates.

Robertson will push for an investigation even though he believes the Council will not agree to it. 

The bids that might have been tainted concern Lubbock’s power supply after the spring of 2019.  LP&L either needs to find another wholesale provider of electricity – at a current value of more than $130 million per year – or build a power plant estimated to cost $700 million or more.  Those two options are the subject of the bidding.

It just so happens four board members are up for re-appointment during Thursday’s City Council meeting.  A fifth board position was recently vacated and will also be up for appointment.  


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