It all started with an extremely unpopular rate increase.
"We've compounded that with error after error after error," Mayor Glen Robertson said.
Now, an LP&L statement says the investigation into the bidding process for the city's future power generation has been put on hold because the outside law firm recently hired to do the audit was already under contract with the city as its bond council.
The LP&L release says in part "The City Manager and City Attorney for Lubbock have asked them to withdraw from any further work on the RFP audit."
"I met with the investigators the day before yesterday. I can tell you it was not an impartial nor an unbiased investigation," the Mayor said. "If that's who we have investigating these serious allegations, we're in trouble."
LP&L GEO, Gary Zheng, released a statement just Thursday that called the law firm "a completely independent third-party firm." But the Mayor said LP&L knew that there was a potential conflict.
"That question was brought up in executive session when that firm was hired," Robertson said.
About all the other drama surrounding LP&L? The Mayor said it must stop.
"The people that don't want to get down to business, that was to continue bickering, that want to continue causing problems, I think we'll just leave them behind," he said.
But he alsos aid a mass turnover of LP&L administration is not necessary to fix the public's distrust.
"It's real easy to say we've got to start back at zero. But we started on this process five or six years ago. We don't want to go back that far," he added.
We reached out to LP&L several times. After multiple calls and an empty office building, we got a statement from them saying they want the release to speak for itself. The statement in its entirety is below:
"For the past week and a half, the law firm of Andrews Kurth has been in the process of conducting a complete and thorough audit of Lubbock Power and Light’s RFP process as it pertains to future generation. The audit was initiated by the Electric Utility Board in a special called meeting held Wednesday, October 23 after issues were raised concerning the overall process.
"Andrews Kurth was chosen to conduct the audit based on their extensive experience and sterling reputation on energy matters. The General Counsel of LP&L has been informed by the firm that the City Manager and City Attorney for Lubbock have asked them to withdraw from any further work on the RFP audit due to the fact that the firm currently serves as bond counsel to the City of Lubbock.
"The work that has been conducted on the audit of LP&L’s RFP process up to this point is valid and will be used in the greater report that will ultimately be presented to the Electric Utility Board. The Board will discuss the matter in their already scheduled meeting on Monday, November 4th in order to determine an alternate third party to complete the audit.
"It is the understanding of the utility that the audit process was nearing completion before being informed of this perceived conflict. The firm selected to complete the audit will be briefed and all work conducted up to this point will be given to the contracted firm.
"Transparency and accountability are vital and are the driving forces behind the decision to conduct such a comprehensive review of the process. LP&L and the Electric Utility Board remain committed to a thorough review process and moving forward to bring the audit to a satisfactory completion. LP&L and the Electric Utility Board remain focused on the long-term goal of providing a reliable source of affordable electricity for the citizens of Lubbock for many years to come."
We also contacted several Electric Utility Board members, none of whom were ready to speak on the matter.