Presley – Entergy spinoff possibly good thing, if ratepayers protected

Entergy and ITC officials say the merger will create greater financial resources to deliver electricity to a greater swath of the country in a more efficient manner.

The Mississippi Public Service Commission will have to weigh in on the transaction.

Brandon Presley, a member of the three-person panel, wonders if the company will truly be independent if Entergy has a majority ownership.

“It’s possibly, and I stress possibly, a step in the right direction,” he said of the companies’ plan. “We’ve got to make sure that, for that amount of money, ratepayers are protected.”

He also says he believes Entergy is exploring the deal in light of heavy federal and state scrutiny over the company’s business practices.

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood has sued the utility, alleging ratepayers are being unfairly charged for electricity. The state PSC has questioned whether the utility’s policies are as transparent as they should be.

Entergy has denied wrongdoing in the lawsuit and the PSC probe.

“Independent power purchases and transmission are what we have been demanding since 2008 that Entergy provide,” Hood said in a statement Monday evening. “Although they have taken a step in the right direction, they kept a controlling interest in the transmission company.”

Clarion Ledger
12/5/11