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Apparently the South Sioux City School District has been paying double on it's electric bill for the past ten years. So just how does something like this happen? The school district says it suspected something was wrong for a long time, but could never put its finger on it.
"It's safe to say we were frustrated," said Dr. Vernon Fisher, superintendent of South Sioux City School.
Fisher has only been in the position for past three years, but says at least once a year, he's spoke with the city about the unusually high electrical bill.
"Here's one bill for $32,000."
Vernon says the school district compared its electric bills to other, similar sized schools in the area. But the numbers didn't add up.
"We knew there was an issue, we just couldn't put our finger on it," said Vernon.
It wasn't until this past summer, when the school district went to put in a new heating and air system in the high school that it discovered where and what the culprit was.
"We were required to shut the building down and go into "blackout mode." When we did that we significantly reduce the amount of electricity that is available."
But when the electric bill came, it remained the same.
"When that happened, there was clear evidence that something was going on here," said Vernon.
The problem was traced back to 2002, when the high school put on an addition. A secondary meter in the mechanical room was suppose to be removed, once a new set of transformers was put in. But it never was. So the meter was being read twice.
The school has settled the bills with the city, but due to a Nebraska "contract law" the school will only get back about $400,000 less than half of what it put out. And it will be in the form of credits on it's electric bill.
"It's hard not to wonder what you could have done with $600,000."
Vernon says he can't answer why it happened, or how it went undetected for so long, but he says the school district did all it could to get the problem figured out.