Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Wetland depletion, Global Warming, Hurricanes,.....what is our biggest threat?

None of the above.

Entergy is our biggest threat...because it is the most immediate. If something isn't done about the criminal utlity bills the people and businesses of New Orleans are being subjected to, we are going to lose many of the folks who have come back into this city. As a matter of fact we have already lost many of them due to Entergy bills alone.

One of my friends recently spoke with one of the most prominent chefs in the city....he owns a smaller uptown restaurant in the Riverbend area. He said the Entergy bills were killing his business and he didn't know if he could keep the business open through the coming summer. This is the reality for many small businesses around the city.

I just heard from another local contractor who owns several rental properties around the city. He told me that he was struggling to keep people in the apartments and that many of the rentors he had were breaking their leases. He then told me that on one of the broken leases, there was a large unpaid Entergy bill on the property due to a mix up with the rentor not changing the bill over to their name. Entergy was trying to force him to pay the bill. He was arguing with Entergy about the bill for the past few months. Entergy told him they were going to turn off the power in all his properties, including his own house if he didn't pay the bill.

That is the ultimate hypocrisy. Entergy's holding company is essentially isolated from absorbing any risk in New Olreans. Now they're more than willing to consolidate their clients'....no hostages' assets in order to assure payment.

They received over 200 million dollars from the Road Home program for infrastructure repair. I am curious if there was any oversight as to how the company spent that money.

I just watched an Enron documentary about how Enron artificially jacked up Californian's monthly energy bills by as much as 50%...there were protests all over the state. 50%....try over 1000% since Katrina. Numerous people I've spoken with have had rate increases higher than 1000%. $70/month in pre-K to $950+/month in post-K .

This summer is going to be a death march for many small businesses and citizens if something isn't done.

15 comments:

copyworld said...

I just came across your blog about Global Warming and wanted to drop you a note telling you how impressed I was with the information you have posted here. I also have a blog about Global Warming so I know I'm talking about when I say your site is top-notch!Global Warming Keep up the great work, you are providing a great resource on the Internet here!

LAW70 said...

Love this blog entry!! I was watching the SAME documentary on PBS last night and was SHOCKED by what I saw. If I am not mistaken, we almost had a similar situation with TXU Energy based on an investigation, but I think the state got involved with this one. Now TXU Energy is offering lower plans and other energy companies have come forward as well. Is your state getting involved with this? I just cannot believe an energy company would do something like this especially with the city trying to rebuild and all.

Saudade said...

Entergy's PR campaign to convince ratepayers that extremely high energy bills are a result of price fluctuations in the national energy market do indeed remind me of Enron's public statements in 2001-2. I was living in San Francisco at the time and I definitely see those events as the beginning of a series of events which eventually resulted in a global recession. The energy bill at the company that I worked for increased almost 400% within a couple of months. Shortly thereafter, businesses around us began to layoff workers, scale down projects and ultimately many began closing shop. It was clear to many Californians at the time that there were illegalities being committed, but state and federal officials and the CA ISO were complacent (and in some cases negligent) in their response to the rate hikes. Though the companies involved and circumstances are different, all-in-all, the Entergy situation smells all too familiar. We have to remember that truth and accountability in cases of corporate corruption and fraud generally begins with a small crack in the armor of well-rehearsed rhetoric, espoused by employees who consider themselves responsible and ethical. A small crack begins by asking the right people the right questions.

Anonymous said...

I fully agree with you on something for a change. The charges that Entergy is trying to force on us is criminal. Something should be done to change this. Someone needs to be jailed for this, the company should be sued and then kicked out of New Orleans...why can't we get a reasonable company in here?

KamaAina said...

Uh, didn't the repukes deregulate the electricity market a while ago? Perhaps a whiff of competition would be just what the doctor ordered.

Neighborhoods, particularly those with industrial sections such as Mid-City, Broadmoor and Tulane/Gravier, might look into forming their own electric co-ops.

Then again, since RTA is nearly as dysfunctional as Entergy at this point (56 flippin' minutes between buses on *Broad*?!), maybe we should just bring back the old NOPSI!

Slate said...

We're already doing the death march here. What can we do? Got any ideas? If so, count me in.

BTW, great job on the Edwards thing! Nice to have tangible results, eh?

Mallory said...

God, we've been dealing with our own Entergy ordeal ever sine we moved in, the fall after Katrina (we were supposed to move into this apartment Labor Day weekend 2005).

We haven't received a single actual bill, except for bills for the apartment next door with their meter listed as our address. We received a disconnect notice in August and were supposed to have worked out a payment plan and they were supposed to send us actual bills, including the past meter readings (we've never seen any meter readings). I made one payment back then but none since, as they haven't actually done their job of getting bills to us so we can see the meter readings and what we owe. And now apparently we owe them almost $3,600 by 5pm today or we're shut off. Wheeeeee! Fun stuff. I'm trying to get the city public advocacy office to help out, but who knows.

The Entergy crisis is definitely one of the main reasons making me want to move right now, I can tell you that.

LatinTeacher said...

Dambala,
I am not prone to conspiracy theories, but I wonder if this Entergy rate hike is just in New Orleans, the New Orleans Metro area, or the entire Entergy service area. I know I hear a lot about Entergy and New Orleans, but I don't hear much about how things are elsewhere. Have you heard other things?

erzulie said...

zvdpbezxThis is one of my biggest fears since deciding to move back into the city that my family and I love. I will be moving back in the middle of summer with my family as planned, but I do (in my mind) question if we're going to stay. For one thing, I'm not sure if we would be able to afford; as many people are struggling in the city...some have become homeless because of it...the labor rates has not increased with the rise of realstate, insurance, and Entergy.

What will it take for someone to step up and say that this is illegal?
It is not right for Entergy or any other company to increase their rates and hold the public hostage!

If there were other options...i.e. another energy company or insurance company, etc...it would not be an issue because then, you at least have a choice. But, the people in New Orleans don't have a choice other than move out! How is that going to help the city?

I'm very concerned, Dambala! Can you shed some light on this issue?

Dambala said...

copyworld....please check out Schroeder's recent post as well. Thanks for checking it out.

http://peoplegetready.jockamofeenanay.com/?p=1471

he's much better at homework than me. :)

Dambala said...

law,

yeah....Smartest guys in the room....it was a great film. Just reminded me so much of what is going on right now in N.O.

Dambala said...

Saudade,

do you have your own blog? would you want to write a more detailed post about what happened in San Francisco...I would love to publish it. I really want people to understand the domino effect these bills are having...Your account of how the Enron manipulation affected San Fran could supply a great perspective to what is happening right now.

If so....please send the post to ashedambala@gmail.com

Dambala said...

Mallory....would you be interested in being interviewed on cam?

I promise it's quick and painless. Thanks.

Dambala said...

Time to talk Solar, Erzulie. I don't have an answer right now...I can promise you that I am going to focus my attention on it and take them head on. Maybe we can produce some results before summer.

Southern Leftist said...

kamaaina,

yes, the republicans tried to deregulate the utility industry promising lower rates through competition. anyone who has seen the enron documentary "the smartest guys in the room" knows how that played out. the two states with the highest rates are california and texas -- both have deregulated markets where consumers can choose their utility provider. the lesson i think is that regulation done well by regulators serving in the public interest are more likely to do a better job for consumers than unregulated corporations.

also pasting a good story by greg palast on some of the history behind entergy:

----------

from www.gregpalast.com

In 1986, I was hired by the City of New Orleans to check out suspicious doings by a corporation called “Entergy.” I flew in to meet City Councilman Brod Bagert, who is also New Orleans’s top trial lawyer and its most accomplished poet. Over beignets and chicory coffee at the river, he said, “You want to know what this city’s about, Mr. Palast? I’ll show you.”

He drove me to a concrete bunker, banged on the metal door, and greeted a guy named Fishhead, who brought me into the belly of a horrendously loud, gargantuan and astonishing apparatus. “This here, Mr. Palast, is a pump. Forget Bourbon Street. This is all you have to know about New Orleans: We are under water. Below sea level, sir, and the only thing that keeps the river from pouring in over our heads are these pumps. You got that, son?” Outside flowed the Mississippi. America’s toilet. The poisoned expectorations of a hundred cities dumped into it or leached from suburban lawns and from factories when no one is looking, come out here in the tap water. A couple years ago, we buried our friend Gary Groesch, aged 50, of some mystery disease. “The City That Care Forgot” is their motto. The City That Everyone Forgot, a Bantustan where the Forgotten can be ignored except for the jazzy minstrel shows for tourists.

I called Bagert four months after the flood. Nearly half the city is still in the dark. The electric company, New Orleans Public Service, “NOPSI,” is owned by a holding company, Entergy, the company Bagert, Groesch and I investigated in 1986. Here’s what we found. In 1986, the New Orleans company was going broke because of the eye- popping cost of buying wholesale power-four times normal-from a company called Middle South Energy, charges they were passing right on to their captive customers in the city. Middle South is 100% owned and controlled by, you’ve guessed it, Entergy. But these were the days of government regulation, and government ordered an end to the shell game. Then came deregulation and the siphoning restarted with a vengeance. Busy shuffling loot from pocket to pocket, Entergy had neither the concern nor funds to harden their system against a hurricane. But from the looks of it, and my own review of their accounts, their plan in case of the long-expected flood came down to “turn off the lights and declare their subsidiary bankrupt,” which they did three weeks after the hurricane. Negligent damage liabilities and rebuilding obligations were thrown into the Dumpster of the bankruptcy courts, and the holding company walked away. But don’t worry, Entergy the holding company is doing quite well, posting a big 24% leap in earnings for the third quarter, a profit it attributes to “weather.”