It all started with Professor Longhair singing Go To The Mardi Gras through my 2004 Honda Civic’s speakers as I rolled into Baton Rouge for the Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC) meeting just in time for the handshaking hoopla and smiling small talk.
“How ‘bout them DKEs?”
“Did y’all bring your popcorn for this co-op nonsense?”
I asked about hunting because I OBVIOUSLY know football is over, successfully avoided a chatty guy in cowboy boots, made one more shameless pitch for energy efficiency, got my parking validated and settled in next to one of my buddies in that new-fangled energy industry. The meeting began, after the routine prayer and Pledge of Allegiance, and our new Commission Chairman began with announcements. And just like that, as if my day couldn’t get any better than Professor Longhair on the radio, Commissioner Francis announced that as the new Chairman he intends to prioritize a long term energy efficiency program for ALL OF Louisiana, including the electric cooperatives. True story, Louisiana, a state that uses 38% more energy than the national average and often thinks of energy efficiency as just about lightbulbs is FINALLY prioritizing energy efficiency program implementation, because “that’s what Jesus would do.”
But wait, it gets better.
Commissioner Francis went further to promote smart energy by fast-tracking demand response programs in Louisiana. The LPSC has decided that Third Party Aggregators cannot operate in Louisiana without individual approval, but should the utilities be directed to offer comprehensive and accessible demand response programs? That’s the exact question Commissioner Francis asked staff to answer in a rulemaking docket, to be completed in SIX MONTHS. Yes, the same Commissioner that posed with me in front of his taxidermied alligator is spearheading Demand Side Management because he doesn’t want us to have to build another expensive power plant.
Cheers to you Commissioner Francis for prioritizing the low and working class families of Louisiana by making their monthly energy bill just a little bit more affordable. Thank you Commissioner Francis for prioritizing an industry that is a leading job creator for blue collar workers. Atta boy Commissioner Francis for leading Louisiana into a 21st Century energy economy.
Now on to New Orleans...
To be continued