This year, every seat in New Orleans City Council is up for grab, as is the Mayor's office. The people elected to these positions will make energy decisions that will impact the city for decades. We are holding public forums to give citizens the opportunity to learn about each candidates' stance on the issues that will affect each and every one of us. Read more to learn about the events and Energy Policy in New Orleans.
Council regulatory authority
Utility regulation and energy policy in new orleans
Outage and Reliability Investigation
The Entergy New Orleans system experiences outages almost daily, which impacts business, health, and quality of life for customers, and causes damage to computer equipment and appliances. The Council is currently investigating the causes of these frequent outages and reliability problems, and expects the utility to find and implement solutions. We do know that over 95% of the outages experienced in New Orleans are related to the distribution system, rather than power plant issues, and we are encouraged that the Council sees the need for hardening and updating the grid.
Entergy’s Proposed New Orleans Power Plant
ENO has proposed to build a new $200M+ gas power plant in New Orleans East and is pushing for a decision with very little time to consider the facts. Since the proposed plant was first announced, community members near the Michoud area have raised health and environmental concerns and many have called for a careful review of alternative choices. It is important that the Council first take the time necessary to get all the facts related to the city’s need, potential cost impacts, and whether alternative resources could better serve customers, then make a decision.
In 2018, Entergy New Orleans will file a “Rate Case” to the council that will set electricity prices for all of New Orleans. Entergy is expected to include a request to raise rates for all customers, but is likely to hit residents hardest. Some charges to residents may jump 20%. Careful scrutiny is required to ensure customers are not overcharged. Meanwhile, rate-making is a valuable opportunity to look for creative ways to incentivize the utility to improve service.
Energy Smart – Saving Energy to Reduce Power Costs
A major energy saving program of the New Orleans City Council, Energy Smart is administered by Entergy. The Council has recently directed the utility to substantially expand the size of the Energy Smart programs until they are approximately six times larger than today, thereby reducing bills for all customers. The Council is hiring an independent consultant to find the best ways of reaching this goal and to maximize overall energy saving for the city. In addition, the Council is considering targets to reduce peak demand through demand side management. We support all of these Council actions.
Currently, Entergy New Orleans has installed 1 MW of renewable energy to serve its customers, and has committed to acquiring another 100 MW of clean renewable energy in the future. So far, the adoption of solar, wind, and other renewables has been slow by Louisiana utilities, while residents and businesses in New Orleans have installed nearly 40 MW on their own rooftops. The Council can, and should, set clear goals for adoption of affordable carbon-free energy. It is important to do so in the near future to capture existing federal incentives and historically low renewable energy prices.
Integrated Resource Planning (IRP)
The Council’s policy of public, transparent, and integrated resource planning is a triennial process that seeks to determine the best 20 year plan for meeting our energy needs. Fall 2017 is the beginning of the 4th cycle of IRP, and Council policies relating to affordability, renewables, efficiency, and climate will all be considered in this round.
The Council recently resolved to commit New Orleans to the Paris Climate agreement, and to “dramatically reduce” carbon emissions. These are worthy resolutions, and follow up will be necessary to lay out specific targets and goals to move the city toward fulfilling the commitments and protecting our future.
Louisiana Public Service Commission Forum and Primer coming soon