Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Open Letter to the Public Service Commission

UPDATE: The PSC just told Entergy to lower the fuel rate adjustment!

I just sent the following to Leonard Bentz, Southern District Commissioner for the Mississippi Public Service Commission.
It says on your website that the Mississippi Public Service Commission “is charged with assuring that rates and charges for services are just and reasonable”. If that is your charge, then why did you allow Entergy to charge such an outrageous amount for the “fuel adjustment” on our most recent bill. There is no way you can describe that charge as “just and reasonable.”

Yes, the price of fuel has increased drastically. The price that citizens pay for gasoline has gone up about 27% in a year. The price that businesses (like Entergy) pay for natural gas (which they use) has gone up about 15% in a year. However, the fuel adjustment has gone from .004249 kWh to .036807. That’s a whole lot more than 15%. For say, 1000 kWh, that’s going from $4.25 to $36.81.

But for the sake of argument, just assume the percent increase was the same for consumers and Entergy. They should not be allowed to pass on the entire increase to their consumers. We don’t have anyone to pass our increases onto – we just have to pay them. And every business is trying to pass these costs onto us, although some businesses are more responsible than others. What are we citizens supposed to do?

This is a time of crisis in our country, with everyone paying these increased costs for fuel. However, not everyone is suffering. Apparently, Entergy is allowed to continue to make the same profits that it always has. In fact, its profits and its stock prices are increasing.

You have failed at your job. You and the PSC should have made Entergy suffer losses just like the rest of us. You were elected to represent us, the citizens, and not the utility companies. Or have you forgotten that? I assure you we will not forget.

If I get an answer, which I doubt, I'll be sure to let you know. If you're as angry about your electric bill as I am, I suggest you let your supposed representative on the PSC know what you think. I think it is unconscionable for elected officials to do the bidding of utility companies instead of their own citizens. They think we're lazy and stupid. Maybe they're right.


Anonymous said...

Entergy can get away with this increase, as well as anything else it wants, because government deregulation has allowed utility companies to build complete monopolies. Do we have an alternative to Entergy with which to do business? No. The public is screwed because Entergy has no competition. Since the Reagan era, Republicans have been claiming that less government regulation of business and commerce is good for the economy. What conservatives mean by "good for the economy" actually means good for corporations and their CEOs.

Bazile Lanneau, Jr. said...

Please check your math and facts!

Natural gas prices (out of the ground) have increased approximately 40% in the past year. Your residential gas bill may have increased less (15%?), but that would be because there is benefit in long term contracts entered into by the utility.

Calculate the percentage change in electricity costs by dividing your total bill by the number of kwH listed there. Then do the same for a prior bill for the period of your choice. You should discover that the total cost has not increased by a factor of 8 (800%) as your article seems to imply (by focusing on the adjustment factor), but probably by 20 to 30%. (I am on SWEPA so I don't have an Entergy bill to compare to)

I do follow your blog regularly and although I am fairly "conservative," I respect your usual thoroughness; but, I think you have missed the boat on this one.

Our national energy debate is an important one. Let's not complicate it with bad facts or poor math.

Casey Ann said...

My figures for natural gas did not come from my bill. They come from the US Energy Information Administration. My figures for the fuel charge came from the Entergy website.

I was not discussing the overall electric bill. I have no concern with what I'm charged for electricity.

My concern was with the fuel adjustment, which is listed separately on our bill. This is supposed to reflect the increase in the cost of fuel. Obviously, it does not do that. The increase in the fuel adjustment charge is WAY more than the increase in fuel that Entergy pays.

And more importantly, they should not be allowed to charge the full amount of the increase. They should be able to shoulder some losses, just like the rest of us are.

While citizens are struggling to make ends meet, Entergy continues to have INCREASING profits. Is that fair? Of course not. In fact, it is outrageous!

Anonymous said...

I'm sure it is all going to a good cause.

Anonymous said...

While we're on the subject: We're smackdab between TWO nuc plants and I'd think since we're in the fallout zone from TWO directions we'd get a break on rates.

Anonymous said...

AND... since we're in the midst of an oil/gas producing area, and not far from OFFSHORE rigs (all of which has been declared HORRID by Casey's green party) you'd think we'd get even more consideration

BTW Casey are you bringing your vest to the convention?