City of New Orleans
This week, City Councilmembers Helena Moreno and JP Morrell reacted to the news that a trial court blocked the Council’s landmark $1 million fine assessed against Entergy New Orleans in 2019 for distribution grid reliability failures.
“I’ve consistently believed we must use every tool in the Council’s authority to get New Orleanians the reliable electricity grid they need and deserve,” said Council President Moreno. “Entergy sued to stop this fine because they want to avoid accountability for their failures. That is unacceptable. We continue to believe in the justice of our efforts and will pursue legal remedy on appeal to enforce this fine – a fine that the company duly earned after years of repeated power disruptions that hurt our health, safety, and businesses.”
“Today’s decision is unfortunate and sends a dangerous signal to large power utilities that they can operate without regard to how their behavior affects rate payers and then avoid penalty altogether. This decision flies in the face of our regulatory authority and weakens the Council’s best tool to hold Entergy New Orleans accountable when their actions harm the people of this City,” said Council Vice President and Utilities Chair JP Morrell. “So much of our ability to ensure quality and reliable utility service rests on the Council’s ability to take decisive action against Entergy when their conduct falls below standard. We have no choice but to challenge this ruling.”
The Council voted in 2019 to assess the $1 million fine after an Entergy New Orleans-sponsored third-party report by Quanta confirmed failures in the company distribution maintenance. The fine amount grew out of information that Entergy New Orleans had previously reduced its maintenance budget by $1 million, leading to increased outages and customer disruptions. It was the second fine the company earned after the Council fined them $5 million for their actions around the “paid actors” scandal.
Pending written judgment, the Council will appeal this decision.
Entergy paid the $5 million fine for the “paid actors” scandal in 2019. Regulators throughout America use monetary penalties to correct utility failures and promote customer satisfaction.