Entergy New Orleans hit with million dollar fine

Julia Porcari

Neighborhoods across New Orleans have been plagued since early 2014 with sudden and unexpected power outages. In many cases, families and whole communities were left quite literally in the dark, as the power outages could last for minutes or days, depending on where you were located in the city.

The members of the New Orleans City Council decided in early 2017 to investigate Entergy New Orleans, the top energy provider for the city of New Orleans, and in October 2019 fined Entergy for one million dollars.

“The council began looking into this [Entergy’s reliability issues] in the summer of 2017, [and] it culminated in an official prudence investigation,” said city council chief of staff Andrew Tuozzolo. “The intention, of course, by fining them is to correct their behavior moving forward.”

Entergy New Orleans did not respond to a request for comment for this article.

On Nov. 7, the city council released a new resolution. The resolution in question, R-19-457, is a rate case, which reduces rates for customers by around three dollars a month. It also provides them with the option of using clean energy in their homes.

The new deal with the city council also creates a baseline service fee for all New Orleans residents, which should help to lower the costs for homeowners paying their electric bills. This could potentially affect many Loyola students who are living independently, off campus, and are paying their own energy bills.

Entergy’s new reliability promise not only affects Loyola students living off campus, or those living independently, but also the majority of students at Loyola, as the dorms are powered by Entergy New Orleans.

In fact, many students living on campus experienced a brief power outage at the hands of Entergy New Orleans several weeks ago. Pre-health biology freshman Mia Buford was in her dorm room in Biever Hall watching a movie when the power went out.

“We were very surprised and a little nervous about the power outage, especially because I didn’t know how long it would last, and I was worried about keeping the food in my fridge cold. I had just gone grocery shopping for the month, you know?” Buford said.

Although the power outage that Friday night lasted for only ten minutes, it still had an effect on many of the students living in Loyola’s dorms on campus or using Loyola’s facilities, such as the Danna Student Center and other buildings.

Looking forward, the new resolution has great potential for the future, as it promotes a clean energy solution and a way to reduce local pollution and emissions while still offering a cheaper power bill for all residents. Studies do suggest that many Entergy customers will take advantage of the new green option and support the search for more reliable, cleaner energy options.

“Anecdotal data suggests there’s a significant interest in finding clean power options and we’re going to try and provide that option through this ‘green tariff’, which is an optional payment people can make to buy what’s called REC’s or Renewable Energy Credits through their Entergy bill, which would finance clean energy projects both here and across the country,” Tuozzolo said.