Hey, from the kooky legal corner, its Brennan and Daniel! We are both new to the Alliance for Affordable Energy, but boy oh boy have our eyes been opened to energy regulation! Recently, Casey, our executive director, and the Alliance staff took us on a magical journey to see the Louisiana Public Service Commission in action.
The five men on the bench were the regulatory Commissioners for Louisiana, and each represented the various viewpoints on matters such as power percentages to different utilities and the place (or lack thereof) of energy efficiency and environmental responsibility. Some of the Commissioners seem to “get” the idea and purpose of energy efficiency and the role it plays in integrated resource planning on a state level. Whether it is for idealistic reasons or because they have the wisdom to see the monetary and fiscal gains of responsible energy usage, they are definite boons to the Alliance’s cause. While other Commissioners seem less open to efficient energy matters, the Alliance appreciates the ability to voice its concerns on behalf of the people of the state of Louisiana.
This month the Commission was traveling and we were treated to a 2 ½ hour drive to Lafayette, LA (the journey started at 6am!). Listening in on the Louisiana Public Service Commission monthly Business & Executive meeting was the purpose of our quest, and to gain experience in the legal workings and mechanizations of the legal side of policy creation. The room was filled to the brim with the hot-shots of the energy legal community, dressed in their tailored finest.
Although we can’t say it was riveting at all moments in time, there were a few instances that we found to be quite surprising. Although the lawyers and Staff members for the Commission are passive themselves (think feudal serfs kneeling to their regulatory overlords), the Commissioners are not afraid to bicker with the visiting presenters and with each other.
Sparks flew over topics as mundane as taxicab age and the need for phonebooks. The phonebook issue regarded whether phone books should be automatically distributed or if people in Louisiana that want them would have to ask for one. Although not an issue the Alliance would take up, Casey said that she would most likely favor NOT sending out the books automatically because of the energy that would be saved in their production. It showed us that all issues can relate back to energy, no matter how far removed they may seem.
Unfortunately, the issue that was of particular interest to the Alliance – whether Entergy should get their money back for a failed nuclear plant – was postponed for one month within a matter of one short minute. In a 4-1 vote (Commissioner Holloway the lone dissenter), the Commission left the issue open for another 30 days.
Thank you for your readership, and thank you on behalf of the Alliance. And now you know a little more about how policy is created and knowing is half the battle! The other half is buying radiant barriers! Only 99$ per roll, call us!