Jim Hood says he wants to turn the lights on to Entergy Mississippi, but the motivation behind the Attorney General’s allegations is suspect, and the “evidence” he brings forth irrelevant. In fact, he does not have any evidence and is seeking 30 years of records to try and concoct some type of case against Entergy Mississippi.
John O’Brien writes a piece outlining the fight at LegalNewsline.com quoting from Entergy’s complaint calling Hood’s actions, “a fishing expedition, commanding the production and delivery of great volumes of documents and information, relevant or irrelevant, in the hope that something will turn up, evading regular administrative jurisdictions, processes and protections.”
Of course, this isn’t the first time Hood has attempted a shakedown of a utility. In 2007, Hood filed suit against the Memphis Light Water and Gas utility over the alleged pilfering of water from an underground acquifer. Of course, that complaint was quickly tossed for lack of jurisdiction. But, Hood’s campaign contributor Don Barrett (head of the Katrina Litigation Group) was the beneficiary of Hood’s outsourcing largesse.
What’s clear is that Hood is looking for a settlement and political points through a quick shakedown of Entergy. But Entergy is no tobacco company or MCI Worldcom. Holding up Entergy Mississippi means holding up its customers. Ultimately, Hood’s efforts can only lead to additional costs for Entergy ratepayers and the Mississippi taxpayers who are on the hook for each case (no matter how frivolous), that Hood engages in.
What about Hood’s motivation: does the Attorney General currently have or will he have any outside lawyers working on this case that contributed to his campaign?
The cases Hood cites in attempt to justify his far-ranging fishing expedition against Entergy were not in Mississippi. They have no impact or bearing on the current case, took place at a different time and involved different contracts with different Entergy companies. None of the cases found wrong doing by any of the Entergy companies involved.
What’s more, the cases cited by Hood were handled by the proper agencies whose job it is to oversee utilities. In Mississippi, as noted here earlier, that’s the Mississippi Public Service Commission (PSC) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), not the Attorney General. What the media continues to gleefully and/or willfully overlook in Hood’s allegations is that he is effectively saying that the PSC and the FERC are incompetent. Hood claims that Entergy is overcharging their customers, yet the PSC must approve Entergy’s electricity rates on a regular basis.
Either Hood deliberately avoided checking the public record, misread what is there, or is being fed information from other people who have their own interests.
Where is Jim Hood getting his information here, and who prompted him to take up the charge against Entergy Mississippi? How much will this cost taxpayers? What outside attorneys stand to benefit at the expense of Mississippi ratepayers? These are some of the questions that the Attorney General needs to answer.
Regardless of what happens, Jim Hood has picked a fight that taxpayers/ratepayers will be funding both sides of. Hood’s office has been present at the PSC hearings, and should be working through the PSC instead of grandstanding and costing Mississippi taxpayers and ratepayers money to fight in court.