Entergy’s catastrophic failure during Hurricane Ida illustrated not only its incompetence, but also the City Council’s failure to use its full regulatory power over the shareholder-owned company.
Entergy has a state-approved monopoly in New Orleans and its sole regulator is the New Orleans City Council.
The problem is that the Council has never truly exercised its full regulatory authority over the company. It’s a complicated issue, but one of the problems has been that the City Council relies on regulation advice from public utility advisors who are more interested in boosting Entergy’s profits than providing sound guidance that benefits consumers.
In my race for the District C seat on the New Orleans City Council, I have made holding Entergy accountable a key plank in my platform—even before Hurricane Ida.
If elected, I will:
• Oppose any proposed rate increases. New Orleanians are paying more for energy than the national average while Entergy makes billions in profits. The average American household spends an average of 3% of their income on home energy costs. In 2020 over 18,000 households in Orleans Parish gave 20% of their income to Entergy.
• Introduce an ordinance prohibiting City Council members from accepting campaign contributions from Entergy.
• Enforce the Renewable and Clean Portfolio Standard. The “RCPS” requires Entergy to satisfy an escalating percentage of its user demand through the use of renewable and clean energy technologies.
• Encourage local investment in the new green economy. Green energy is the future and New Orleans should be a part of it. Cultivating a renewable energy industry will also help diversify our economy. Green energy jobs are going somewhere and there is no reason they cannot come to New Orleans.
• Use Integrated Resource Planning as a powerful tool for ensuring that New Orleans energy consumers receive affordable and reliable electricity service that does not compromise the health of their communities or the environment.
• Fire the Council’s Utility Advisors. The utility advisor contracts are among the most lucrative in the city and for too long they have looked out for Entergy’s bottom line instead of providing honest energy policy advice. Rate-payers deserve better.
• Demand annual management audits. Entergy has proven itself to be untrustworthy—the gas plant in the East, the mismanaged Grand Gulf nuclear power plant, power failures during the severe winter storm the week of Mardi Gras, and routine reliability issues all demonstrate that Entergy cannot be trusted.
• Force Entergy to upgrade its infrastructure, including tapping into MISO (the regional, multi-state transmission grid). Entergy was forced to join MISO after a federal government investigation into its anti-competitive practices several years ago, yet Entergy has resisted utilizing the regional transmission grid.
For years, Entergy has demonstrated that they are unwilling to act in good faith and, for years, the City Council has failed to hold them accountable. I want to change that.
Frank Perez has been endorsed by Ambush Magazine.