State regulators question Entergy's performance after Isaac

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wwltv.com

Posted on October 24, 2012 at 6:59 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 24 at 7:02 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

NEW ORLEANS -- Entergy's top officer in Louisiana, President and CEO Bill Mohl, defended his company's record after Hurricane Isaac during a special hearing before state utility regulators in Wednesday in Baton Rouge.

His utility took a lot of criticism from customers and public officials who complained about lengthy power outages and a lack of pre-storm preparations.

New Orleans-area Commissioner Eric Skrmetta called for an investigation into Entergy's post-storm performance and asked most of the questions from the board.

"When we come into next storm season, we'll have improvement on tree trimming, pole reliability, positioning of assets, hiring of staff," said Skrmetta.

About 780,000 Entergy customers lost power during the August storm.

Mohl stands by his companies response to the slowing moving category one hurricane that stuck around for more than 60 hours.

He said 10,000 workers were called in to help restore power which he says was completed faster than after Hurricane Gustav in 2008.

"We believe it was a good restoration, 90 percent of customers restored within five days," Mohl said.

But, Mohl is pledging to improve communications with his customers.

"One of the things that we learned from this storm is we can do a better job providing information and communicating to the public both before the storm, during the storm and during the restoration process," said Mohl.

Public service commissioners say the investigation into Entergy's performance is only beginning. They also say the board plans to audit the utility's books to make sure money and assets were spent wisely in getting the power back on after Isaac.

"When Entergy submits their filing, if we find that any dollar amount was not prudently incurred or wisely spent and reasonable for the restoration, then it does get deducted and the people don't have to pay that amount of money," said Commissioner Lambert Boissiere of New Orleans.

Skrmetta is calling for the PSC to hold a special hearing in New Orleans to gather comments and facts from local leaders and Entergy customers.

 

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