Utility, Cable, Telecommunications and Technology Committee, Helena Moreno, Jay H. Banks, Joseph I. Giarrusso
NEW ORLEANS - Utilities Committee Chair Helena Moreno, Council Sewerage and Water Board (S&WB) Appointee Jay H. Banks, and Public Works Committee Chair Joe Giarrusso have issued the following statement regarding Entergy and the New Orleans Power Station (NOPS):
"Since taking office last May, this Council has relentlessly fought on behalf of Entergy New Orleans and Sewerage Water Board (S&WB) customers. We continue to review all aspects of service and business practices by S&WB and Entergy to determine how they can better serve New Orleanians.
The resolution on the agenda for this week's Utility Committee is the result of a detailed review of last year's decision to proceed on the NOPS.
As has been widely reported, this Council has uncovered, investigated, and fully prosecuted the Entergy paid actor scandal; laid out a clearer vision and commitment to renewable power; and begun a comprehensive investigation into Entergy's distribution reliability in order to end the most common power interruption, "clear-skies" outages related to poor maintenance.
Over the past several months we've thoroughly reviewed the NOPS technical record. It clearly indicates that a solution is necessary for peak-demand outages. Ultimately we have also come to the conclusion that the NOPS outcome can be improved for ratepayers. It will certainly not satisfy everyone - but taking into consideration the current circumstances, it is a better outcome and avoids the most harm for the people of New Orleans.
The resolution on the agenda is a potential settlement, based on concessions offered by Entergy and requested by a number of advocates throughout the process: first, Entergy will pay a $5 million fine that will predominantly be used to tackle the power crisis at S&WB, and then further, Entergy will commit to a number of concrete improvements to the NOPS plant that pave the way for cost-effective technological and sustainable advancements.
The resolution directs Entergy to work with the S&WB to help solve power problems including applying much of the $5 million fine toward significant upgrades for S&WB. These upgrades will provide substantial cost savings to New Orleanians - most of whom are customers of both Entergy and S&WB - because the Entergy fine will come directly from the company's profits and cannot be recouped from ratepayers.
The resolution also modifies the NOPS plant in the following ways: first, it imposes cost protections for the ratepayers, ensuring that customers do not shoulder out-of-control costs during the construction process. Second, Entergy will submit to stipulated and rigorous maintenance requirements to ensure the plant doesn't decay as Entergy's distribution network has. Third, Entergy will commit to a reoccurring, focused review of new technologies to modify or supplant NOPS with battery storage or other peak-demand response technologies as they become practical and cost-effective. We believe these changes to NOPS represent real advancements that protect Entergy customers financially.
These changes are good for our city and our future. Our work to improve services by Entergy and the S&WB is hardly complete. As we move forward, there are still better things to come. And we'll continue to listen to you, work with you, and do our best to build a better New Orleans for all."
Chief of Staff
Office of Councilmember-at-Large Helena Moreno