LNL – Jim Hood blames Entergy for budget delay

JACKSON, Miss. (Legal Newsline) – Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood recently said the power provider he has been battling for months is “kind of like the mafia.”

Hood made the remarks in a Thursday report by WLBT in Jackson regarding the state Public Service Commission putting many of its workers on furloughs to save money. Hood blamed lobbyists for Entergy Corp. for misinforming lawmakers on how many employees the PSC and the Public Utilities Staff should be kept, the report says.

Last week, the PSC and Public Utilities Staff were not told their budgets at the end of a special legislative session.

“It just shows you Entergy’s kind of like the mafia — ‘if you try to regulate us we’ll shut you down.’ And that’s what happened,” Hood said in the report.

“They have shut down the actual functions of the PSC to a bare minimum and they’ve shut down the agency that assists them completely. From what I was told, senators and Gov. (Haley) Barbour were right in the middle of the shutdown. I guess he’s carrying the water for Entergy.”

Hood and Entergy have been locked in a war of words since last year.

Hood feels that Entergy Mississippi is buying gas at an inflated cost from the other Entergy companies, driving prices up for Mississippi consumers.

Entergy called Hood’s civil investigative demands a “fishing expedition” and feels the Attorney General’s Office has no business investigating utilities.

A ruling by the Louisiana Supreme Court this year reinforced the fact that utilities should be regulated by the proper authorities, Entergy Mississippi vice president of customer operations John Mullins has said.

The New Orleans City Council decided in 2004 Entergy had to refund $7.2 million to customers, but that amount was increased to $34.3 million by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals when plaintiffs claimed that Entergy New Orleans had recovered certain costs through its fueld adjustment clause instead of its base rates.

The Supreme Court ruling reinstates the original $7.2 million amount.

Legal News Line