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Mark Ballard: What regulators can do to improve utility systems | Mark Ballard – New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana 2021-09-25 19:00:00 –

We know when members of the Louisiana Public Services Commission discussed what happened to utilities and telecommunications companies during Hurricane Ida and how services were restored. , Someone or a group of someone hacked into a public zoom conference and cast a blatant scene of people having sex.

The only comment from the PSC was that it had happened, so it remained unclear whether it was a prank or a protest, the perpetrators were corrupted, and the media reporting the incident was only interested in online clicks.

Five recently elected PSC commissioners and their regulated utility executives have been the target of depletion of proceedings and criticism. The cause is widespread anger at the catastrophic damage caused by Aida, exposing hundreds of thousands of people to deadly heat without electricity or communications.

“If we could know how many Cox customers were, we wouldn’t know if they were basically ready to light a broom and get a rake,” said the PSC Commissioner. Eric Skrmetta, R-Metairie, told Cox Communications executives. Hearing. He and the other commissioners said the same thing as executives of other utility companies when it was their turn to report.

At the Louisiana Public Utility Commission meeting on Wednesday, the graphic scene of the utility regulators who interrupted sex held a virtue …

Utility regulation is a complex engineering-high-finance crossroads discussed in a language understood by some 200 regulators, lawyers, lobbyists, and executives, many of which translate what’s happening into simple terms. I hate to do it. But utility speeches don’t cut it for residential, business, and industrial customers who pay for repairs after a storm.

Estimates for Entergy’s interim recovery are between $ 2 billion and $ 2.4 billion for Aida, said Philip May, president and chief executive officer of Entergy Louisiana. Entergy Louisiana and Entergy New Orleans power more than half of the state’s homes and businesses.

Estimates for the May recovery will fluctuate significantly over the next few years. So, in the end, that amount will appear on the customer’s monthly invoice. Last year’s hurricane roller costs are still being calculated and will probably not be added to the customer’s invoice for at least six more months, perhaps a year.

Ida destroyed 212 structures, such as transmission towers, and further damaged 296 structures, obstructing the flow of high-voltage power from the power plant to the distribution equipment, which lowers the voltage before sending it to the customer. Over 36,000 utility poles and 50,000 span wires went down. As a result, 1,098,433 customers lost electricity after the hurricane stuff hit 1.3 million in 2009.

Over the past year, Louisiana and its utility systems have been hit by four named hurricanes. Two of them, Laura and Aida, have landed as one of the strongest hurricanes in history.

Undoubtedly, utilities, especially Entertainment, were able to restore power faster than ever before. However, customers are dissatisfied with the repeated outages.

Most of the Baton Rouge area should be back in air conditioning and lighting by Wednesday, September 8th, said the director of entertainment …

“It’s not practical to rebuild the system every time,” said PSC Commissioner Lambert Boissier III, D-New Orleans. “We need to discuss strengthening very seriously” in our transmission and distribution systems to reduce future power outages.

Under its own legal system set up to treat private companies operating as monopoly companies in certain areas, regulators are responsible for the amount paid by customers and the amount spent by utilities to provide services. You can consider the cost to balance.

Instead of choosing Entergy, utilities have spent about $ 4.2 billion on their transmission systems over the last six years. This was also paid by the customer.

In April, Entergy officials testified before the PSC that it would be too expensive to upgrade the entire system. As a result, the utility “cost-effectively reduces reliability risks” for specific parts of the network.

New equipment across the grid performed well during Ida, according to a report released last week by McCullough Research. An Oregon-based company that advises utilities and government agencies has reviewed Entergy’s regulatory filings and investor reports.

In an entertaining-focused report, McCullough also said, “Many utilities wait until old equipment is destroyed, rather than preemptively replacing equipment. There are comprehensible regulatory reasons. It’s easier to recover the cost of storm damage than to claim the early abolition of existing assets. “

PSC Chair Craig Greene, a Republican doctor at Baton Rouge, points out that “post-mortem analysis” is needed. question: What weaknesses did Entergy work for? And what exactly did the company do?

Regulators cannot order the payment of utility bills, but the commissioner can determine which costs were “wise.” If you are careful, your customers will pay. Otherwise, these costs will be deducted from the total amount payable by the customer.



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