When the trial lawyer driven, AG-headed assault began on Entergy this summer, PSC Commish Leonard Bentz in a press release on August 5, 2008, announced that Florida-native Walter Drabinski had been hired to do an independent audit of fuel prices.

Commissioner Leonard Bentz announced Tuesday, August 5, 2008 that the Mississippi Public Service Commission has officially hired Walter Drabinski, of Cudjoe Key, FL as an independent auditor. Mr. Drabinski will review and audit Entergy Mississippi Inc.’s records regarding the company’s purchasing policies.

“We are pleased to take this situation one step closer to a resolution by hiring Mr. Drabinski. He will help sort out the records and help us find whether the charges reflected on consumer utility bills is justified,” Chairman Bentz said.

Mr. Drabinski is President of Vantage Consulting, Inc., and has more than 27 years of experience in the utility and energy industry.

“He brings knowledge as an independent energy consultant, and we hope that a conclusion can come sometime in the next month. An independent expert allows both Entergy as a utility company and the rate-payers to be represented fairly. As I said before, I want the rate-payers to know that I am committed to ensuring that they are given the best possible option when it comes to the energy companies purchasing fuel and then passing that cost on to customers. We are investigating these practices and procedures that utilities companies use,” Bentz added.

The Commission will resume hearings once Mr. Drabinski has had time to issue a report to the Commission.

Remember the context here. In August, oil was still above $100 barrel and natural gas was still above $9/thousand. Now, of course, oil is more like $40/barrel and natural gas is about $5/thousand. Ratepayers were facing a hike because Entergy had not adjusted its prices, but were asking the PSC to do just that due to the spike in natural gas. Natural gas, a major component of on demand electrical energy in the summer, had at one point spiked to over $13/thousand.

Bentz announced the hiring of Drabinski to see if anything was out of line with Entergy’s pricing practices. He supposedly did an independent audit. Certainly if Entergy were up to “no good”, Drabinski, this expert hired by the PSC, would have seen it, wouldn’t he?

So . . . where is it? Where’s the audit? How much did we pay for it? What did it say? Why haven’t we seen that? Could it be that it doesn’t have anything negative to say about Entergy? Was that money wasted?

Now, the PSC is not accepting the annual audit prepared by the Public Utilities Staff (which is independent of the PSC). I think the least that the PSC could do it to release the conclusions of the Public Utililities Staff and Drabinski to the public to see what, if any, malfeasance they have found. Maybe some enterprising reporters will FOIA that info.