Allies and Supporters,
I have made the decision to resign from my position as State Policy Director with the Alliance for Affordable Energy. My deepest gratitude goes out to all of you that I’ve had the pleasure of working with and learning from. I can assure you this was not an easy decision.
As some may know, I was offered a position in the New Orleans’ Council Utility Regulatory Office as an Energy Policy Analyst, and I’m very much looking forward to advancing the City’s clean energy goals and advocating for the City’s utility customers, especially the most vulnerable. I imagine I’ll be seeing many familiar faces in my new role, and I look forward to continuing the conversation with all of you.
If you would like to reach me, my personal email is JMaloneHendricks@gmail.com, and I look forward to staying in touch.
Thank you for all of the work you do, and please keep it up! In a State with some of the highest rates of energy insecurity, this work is invaluable to so many, especially in a State so vulnerable to the worst impacts of Climate Change.
Until next time,
By Ishita Yadav, AAE Intern
The savings you achieve from a single energy-efficient appliance may seem small on its own, but in most cases, the premium price you pay will be more than offset by your energy savings in the long-run.
Energy efficiency guru Amory Lovins: ‘It’s the largest, cheapest, safest, cleanest way to address the crisis’ by John Vidal
One of the leading advocates of energy conservation explains why this could be a turning point for climate economics.
By Jesse George, AAE New Orleans Policy Director
UPDATE March 28, 2022 - Great news! The New Orleans Utility Committee voted in favor of the proposed ethics law. What's next? The ordinance will be heard at the April 7th full Council meeting. Your voice is still needed! Comment on Item 10 (Cal. no 33,637) to help!
The Greater New Orleans Interfaith Climate Coalition, a group whose members are working diligently to establish climate justice and promote care of the Earth, calls your attention and your actions to a very important vote of the New Orleans City Council Utility Committee on Wednesday, March 28, 2022.
The Council has the job of regulating Entergy and other companies, as well as contracting professional services. The GNOICC and its partners proposed an ordinance, a local law, to strengthen the City of New Orleans Code of Ethics to prohibit a campaign contribution or other financial benefit from a utility provider or other entity that is regulated or contracted by the New Orleans City Council.
The passage of this ordinance is a necessary safeguard against the potential for undue influence on energy costs, climate policies, and numerous other matters handled by the Council that impact the daily lives of all New Orleanians.
Meet our new supporter & ally E Source. Learn about how they're helping organizations with energy assistance missions.
The Alliance is pleased to call E Source a new supporter and ally, and honored to have been included amongst these organizations with energy assistance missions.
Letter to LA Senator Cassidy - Prioritize Louisianans health & safety not your fossil fuel backed CCS agenda
On September 17, 2021, the LDNR submitted its application to EPA for permitting authority. Only two states, Wyoming and North Dakota, have been granted permitting authority by the EPA after a considerably longer review time than Senator Cassidy wants for the LDNR. Neither of those states have LDNR’s poor track record in managing underground wells.
The Energy Future New Orleans Coalition sent a letter the New Orleans City Council today urging the new Council to fulfill its commitment to take up in earnest a management audit of Entergy New Orleans, LLC.
In the wake of Hurricane Ida, which rendered much of the city powerless for a week-and-a-half, the Council voted on September 23, 2021 to adopt motion M-21-342. That motion directed the Council Utility Regulatory Office (“CURO”) to develop a request for qualifications (“RFQ”) for a firm to conduct the audit. CURO issued the RFQ on December 8, 2021, and it has now been two months with no further action. We understand now that the RFQ has failed to garner a single response, a worrisome confirmation that the audit services market does not believe the Council has shown serious commitment to this effort.
The record before the Council documents the multiple Entergy failures and misplaced priorities that warrant prompt action on the audit. Get up to date on the full story in our letter to the Council.
The Alliance for Affordable Energy is excited to be teaming up with Tipitina's for a benefit show and raffle on Saturday, March 19th, 2022. Join us for fun, drinks, and music to support your local consumer and environmental advocate.
The legendary trombonist Fred Wesley of the J.B.’s will headline a New Orleans All-Star team including Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff of Lettuce, Sam Kininger of Soulive, Russell Batiste & Friends, and Billy Iuso.
Get tickets - for only $30 - online at: bit.ly/AAEtickets
The Climate Task Force's Final Report is here! Get the rundown in GS4GND's joint statement on the report.
Joint Statement of the Louisiana Policy Table of Gulf South for a Green New Deal on the Louisiana Climate Action Plan
However, the LCAP has significant limitations: it is not, in fact, a plan, but rather an unprioritized list of recommendations that provides no analysis of the relative greenhouse gas emissions reductions of the measures included.
Learn more about what's going to be discussed tomorrow and why this meeting is definitely one to watch on our FB Live segment Coffee Talk. Join hosts Logan Burke and Jessica Hendricks for a quick rundown on all matters LPSC.
Louisiana has lost 23% of its oil and gas jobs in less than two years
By Jesse George, AAE New Orleans Policy Director
The holidays are a joyous time for celebration and reconnection, yet many of us- myself included- are just counting down the days to some much deserved time off. How are we supposed to lead the energy transition while feeling so depleted? Often this sparks conversations about self-care, the importance of setting boundaries and taking breaks but sometimes that just feels like a loss of momentum. It feels like something is missing.
It’s joy. Joy gives us the energy for change.
By Jessica Hendricks, AAE State Policy Director
The Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC) has come into focus over the past week or so, namely around a proposed withdrawal from MISO and the enormous costs associated with storm damage, but there was also a pretty significant win that you may have missed.
As we will continue to say, the LPSC needs to prioritize finalizing the Energy Efficiency rules, recognizing that we are now entering Program Year 8 of the Quick Start program, the Commission did approve the program extension BUT WITH DOUBLE THE BUDGET!
By Andy Kowalczyk
By Jessica Hendricks, AAE State Policy Director
If your electric bill seems higher than it was last year, it is and you are not alone. Bills are up, in some cases even $20 more per month than where they were last year and as we continue to pry ourselves out of this economic recession, many folks just can’t keep up. Just last month, at the LPSC meeting, a Ville Platte resident went before the Louisiana Public Service Commission to make a formal complaint about how high utility bills are in his community. Although unacceptable, here are a few reasons why-
Usually line itemed as FAC (Fuel Adjustment Charge) on bills, this is a 100% pass through from the utility to the customer of costs associated with the fuel needed to generate electricity. As many know, natural gas prices are significantly higher than they were last year, and Louisiana relies heavily on natural gas power plants. The high cost of natural gas is causing a spike in the FAC on customer bills. Further, if you’re a SWEPCO or Cleco customer (or a customer of a utility that buys power from Cleco, like DEMCO and the City of Alexandria), you’re soldering the costs of an expensive lignite mine and power plant. The Oxbow Mine and Dolet Hills Power Station in Northern Louisiana are nowhere near cost effective anymore and the companies are in the process of retiring both facilities. The associated retirement costs have yet to go through a full prudence review by the LPSC meaning customers are on the hook for the expensive fuel costs, albeit subject to potential refunds in the future should the LPSC determine those costs were imprudent.
This is the amount charged per kWh. Louisiana has prided itself for years in having the lowest ‘rates’ in the country, around $0.08-$0.09/kWh. However, recent rate cases and Formula Rate Plan extensions approved by the LPSC have some utilities charging over $0.13/kWh which is above the national average of $0.12/kWh.
You’ve probably heard us say, “we’ve got the lowest rates, but highest bills”. A lot of that came down to usage and the costs associated with sustaining high usage. As mentioned above, we no longer have the lowest rates yet we still have some of the highest usage. Sure, we’ve got long hot summers, but so do our neighboring states. Yet they mitigate energy usage with long-term, robust energy efficiency programs. The LPSC has been working on these programs for over seven years and have yet to finalize them, while Louisianan’s pay the price on their monthly bills.
Riders and Surcharges
This is likely where interim cost recovery from storm damage is going to start to show up. Whether it was Hurricanes Laura, Delta, Zeta, or Winter Storm Uri, some of our utilities have already started recovering them subject to a prudence review. Costs of new power plants may also be lurking here.
Growing up in Lake Charles, Louisiana, my family prepared for each hurricane season by clearing debris and stocking our pantry with water and canned food in late May. In October, we stopped watching the Gulf of Mexico. These days, we prepare a whole month earlier and can’t fully relax until December. What used to be a summer to early fall hurricane season is now half the year, and it’s growing in both length and ferocity.
If we’re going to have any chance of saving our land, Louisiana needs real climate action and a serious investment in renewable energy. The petrochemical, oil and gas industries are threatening to hijack the process by spreading a myth about carbon capture — a myth that’s catching the ear of Gov. John Bel Edwards. But it’s not too late to tell a new story.
To confront this challenge, Edwards created the Climate Initiatives Task Force with the goal of creating a plan to achieve net zero carbon emissions in Louisiana by 2050. This task force includes advocates for climate equity and justice, as well as many representatives of the chemical, oil and gas industries. Since 2020, the task force members have been grappling over questions like whether Louisiana can afford to refuse the permitting and construction of new industrial facilities.
This task force and the governor of Louisiana should be asking the opposite question: can we afford to proceed as we have been? More importantly, can we look to industry to solve a problem that they created?!
**UPDATE: This meeting was postponed. At the Wednesday October 27, 2021 Special Meeting the Council approved both resolutions. YOU DID IT! Thanks to the public outcry over increases to Entergy rates the Council approved a resolution to protect people and keep bills down. ALSO, the Council opened a new docket on resilience and storm hardening for our energy system. This is where we work out how to put power where the people are and keep folks safe. We need this effort across the state too!
Entergy’s failures with regard to Ida are only part of a larger pattern of corporate corruption and dysfunction. Entergy has demonstrated repeatedly that it is committed to a way of doing business that is unaffordable to ratepayers and unable to provide the kind of reliability and resilience that are becoming more and more necessary in the face of climate disaster.
At its regular monthly meeting on Sept. 23, 2021, the New Orleans City Council passed a slate of resolutions opening investigations into ENO’s transmission planning and its planning and response around Hurricane Ida, as well as commissioning an independent management audit of the company.
New Orleanians — who already experience one of the highest energy burdens of any city in the nation — should not be required to pay a single dime more to ENO at least until the audit and investigations are complete. We need city council members who understand the awesome authority they wield over Entergy, and who have the courage to act boldly in their regulation of the company. The future habitability of our city quite literally depends on it.