By STEVE JONES Staff writer

City finance officials are lighting up over a refund from National Grid of about $190,000.

The Board of Estimate and Contract Thursday voted 5-0 to accept a refund from the power company after an audit from April 2006 to present showed inaccuracies in billing. To avoid any possible litigation, the company will repay the city $190,683.41.

The discrepancies relate to the process of relocating lights owned by the company but managed by the city, said Public Works Commissioner Frank D. Tallarino Jr. There are over 4,000 street lights in Rome, almost all of which are owned by National Grid, he said. The city will request the company move lights when one is needed in one place and not in the current location, or even that a light be removed entirely if it serves no real purpose anymore. He said that happens only about once or twice a year. Sometimes, despite the city contacting the company with the change request, the bookkeeping on the changes get muddled and the city is still charged for a light that’s no longer operating, he said.

The funds the city is getting back will go into the general fund for use elsewhere or to be saved for the future.

The city spends about $578,000 annually on power to street lights.