Entergy balks after PSC says no to increas
Published 12:00 am Friday, January 30, 2009
Entergy has challenged a denial by the state Public Service Commission of the company’s request for a $3.7 million base rate increase.
In an appeal filed with the state Supreme Court, the utility says its “constitutional rights” have been violated by the three people elected to regulate public utilities and caused its rates to yield less than a “fair, just and reasonable rate of return.”
The legal action is the latest in a months-long battle involving Entergy and the state over its rate calculations. Attorney General Jim Hood filed suit against Entergy in September, charging the company with making false statements about its rates. Hood alleges the company has padded its invoices since 1974 and sold its customers in Mississippi the highest-priced power available in its four-state system.
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Central to Hood’s case is a separate case involving Entergy in Louisiana that resulted in a $72 million refund, stemming from a natural gas contract in Evangeline Parish. PSC chairman Lynn Posey said the panel’s rejection was based on details of the matter.
Earlier this month, attorneys for the company told the commission energy sold to Mississippi ratepayers using that contract made up just 1 percent of its total load. Shortly thereafter, Hood’s office released statements citing documents filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that showed the percentage for 2005 and 2006 were more than that.
Posey acknowledged the possibility the commission’s decision may be overturned by the courts, but that the panel sided with ratepayers because of the recent revelations on the Louisiana matter.
Entergy officials have said the request for an increase came via a recommendation from the state Public Utilities Staff, which functions to advise the commission on rate adjustments.
“Given Entergy’s previous admissions that it has overcharged our customers in the past, it is nearly incomprehensible that this company would now sue the Public Service Commission to collect millions more,” Hood said in a statement released Thursday.
Entergy has said it could take several months to determine if customers were overcharged as a result of any percentage of energy stemming from the Evangeline contract.
Entergy, based in New Orleans, makes and sells electricity through subsidiaries to 2.6 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. In Mississippi, the company serves more than 433,000 customers in 45 counties.
Contact Danny Barrett Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org.