If you didn't read this commentary in the Gambit this week ....do so now. It is imperative for people to understand what Entergy is doing to post-K New Orleans.
Of note in the article:
Last week, The Times-Picayune, long a front man for the utility, ran a front-page story "exposing" the high cost of regulating Entergy New Orleans -- calling it 10 times more expensive than the PSC's costs for regulating other Entergy companies. That story was followed quickly by an editorial calling for the merger of Entergy New Orleans with Entergy Louisiana -- and the transfer of regulatory authority to the PSC.
Fo' True...Fo' True. Overall I think the TP is a quality newspaper. I think it has some of the best writers and reporters in the nation. But make no mistake...they have special interests...corporate interests. And make no mistake...Entergy is one of them.
Here is the TP editorial calling for an end to the City Council's Utilities Committee and a subsequent end to city oversight of Entergy rates....on the basis that it is costing us 6 million annually in taxes to do so and requires added expenses from consultants as the staff only had two salaried employees.
This editorial is a red herring, pure and simple. It's purpose is to make us believe that City Council oversight is not necessary....it fails to mention what the Gambit article does mention...that the committee has saved New Orleanians BILLIONS of dollars since it's inception....that's BILLIONS with big fruckin' B. I'll gladly support paying the consultants several hundreds of dollars an hour when they produce these results.
This pity envoking editorial goes on to cite Entergy's challenges in fixing the city's "badly damaged gas operations." They really want you to feel sorry for Entergy don't they?
If I'm not mistaken, Entergy received over $200 million dollars in grants from the Federal Road Home program to fix damaged infrastructure in the city. I don't know about you....but I'm still waiting on my Road Home money....and Entergy to fix their shit. I have a hard time feeling sorry for a company hiding behind bankruptcy protection, receiving what amounts to a federal bailout and hence protecting it's stock owners from absorbing ANY RISK, then finding it necessary to defraud it's customers (Us) through ridiculously high gas and electricity bills.
Yes I said defraud....I believe it to be fraud because I've interviewed over 10 people who received gas bills alone which ranged from 700 to 1200/month. Some of them didn't even have their gas on. Most of their pre-K gas bills ranged from $30/month to $70/month. One interviewee on Milan who received a $900 bill in December called her friend in Omaha, Nebraska to compare bills. The CCM usage of her friend, who pretty much kept her heat on all the time, was about 120 CCMs and her bill ran about $180/month. The Milan VICTIM's bill said she used well over 400 CCM's and the bill was $900+/month. Her next door neighbor received nearly the same amount. December was a pretty warm month and both concurred that they had rarely turned their heat on that month. I have spoken to probably 20 people in the city who have told me similar horror stories.
What's worse is that when the people tried to question their bills they were met with a morass of obfuscation from Entergy's phone reps. Those that could actually get through to someone were then met with further frustations such as one woman in Hollygrove who had already been through hell with her damaged gas lines. After finally getting through to an Arkansas based Rep., she pleaded, "There is no fucking way I used this much gas...I didn't even have it on!" The Entergy rep. replied, "Obviously you did, mam. I'm looking at the meter reading and it say's you did."
Or the people who actually found major discrepancies in their Entergy meter readings and what Entergy claimed they used. I have had 5 people tell me Entergy reps replied to them, "There was a dog in your yard so we couldn't read the meter and we had to estimate." 3 of the People didn't have dogs and 1 of the two that does keeps it inside as she doesn't have a fence around her yard.
There is more to come on this. I am talking to a large landowner in the uptown area who has much to say on the issue.
In the meantime....Kudos to Mr. DuBos and the Gambit for calling bullshit. Don't be fooled by the TP's red herring.