Several weeks ago the New Orleans City Council voted to investigate two far-reaching decisions by Entergy. If you live in Orleans Parish, the council's decision could have equally far reaching consequences on your utility bill. And that's the topic of this week's Commentary by Eyewitness News Political Analyst and Gambit columnist Clancy DuBos.

Clancy DuBos / Eyewitness News Political Analyst

Few political topics are less riveting, or more complex, than utility regulation. But that's nonetheless one of the most important jobs of the New Orleans City Council. The council is the only 'local' utility regulator in the entire four-state Entergy System. That gives New Orleanians a lot more say-so over their electric bills.

Several weeks ago, the council voted to investigate two corporate decisions by Entergy New Orleans. Those decisions, according to the council's utility advisors, could raise electric bills in New Orleans by $80 million a year, or more.

Entergy says otherwise.

The investigation could take a year, but without local regulators, this issue might never have been raised. That's a stark reminder of a bitter political fight that New Orleanians had with Entergy's predecessor 30 years ago: a fight to keep utility regulation at City Hall. For several years, the state Public Service Commission regulated local rates, and they shot up. When voters took back local control, local bills went down.

No matter what the council's investigation finds, its real significance is the importance of local regulation.


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