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PSC must protect consumers from alarmism

One thing is clear: unless the regional transmission organization that guides the pricing most Louisianans pay for their electricity halts its drift towards placing ideology ahead of customer welfare, the part of the state served by Entergy must find an alternative arrangement.

At last month’s Public Service Commission meeting, consultants registered a warning about the policy direction of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator. This RTO is comprised of power providers in 15 states and Manitoba, split into three regions. Entergy’s operations in New Orleans, regulated by the city, and in most of the rest of the state, regulated by the Public Service Commission, are affected; the northwest corner of the state served by American Electric Power subsidiary Southwestern Electric Power is part of another RTO called the Southwest Power Pool.

Ideally, an RTO by integrating power production across multiple providers and borders can increase reliability in provision for customers included by drawing upon more sources. However, member entities sacrifice some control over generation and pricing, most particularly on capital expenditures for transmission. Several such voluntarily organizations exist encompassing over half the states, but not areas of Mississippi not served by Entergy or the remainder of deep south states (except for a swath of North Carolina). These parts of Entergy with its Arkansas and Texas subsidiaries form one of three MISO sub-regions which have some autonomy within the organization.


BC no-bid contract chickens come home to roost

The folly of no-bid contracting when unnecessary for local governments hit home at Bossier City’s latest City Council meeting.

At the last moment, the issue sidelined at its Nov. 2 meeting the Council placed on the agenda. That would close the Union Pacific Railroad crossing at Shed Road, apparently in exchange for allowing the Walter O. Bigby Carriageway, almost complete, to fly over the tracks nearby.

The impetus for this came from a letter received from the railroad. After the last meeting, Republican Mayor Tommy Chandler and some councilors met with UP to see if they could modify the railroad’s insistence on closure, addressed in the letter that read publicly.


Resignations roil Caddo, Shreveport politics

Recent resignations by elected officials in Caddo Parish governments could create a lot of controversy shaping their compositions for years to come.

Last week, Democrat Lynn Cawthorne resigned his Caddo Parish Commission post, and not by choice – he pled guilty to a felony that by law disqualifies his service in an elected capacity. Local Shreveport ordinance forced out Republican (for now) James Flurry when he moved from his City Council district.

This doesn’t change the partisan control of the Council, with currently four Democrats and two Republicans seated. By Dec. 2 the Council must choose a replacement or default to the governor.


Split reform decision confounds expectations

One up, one down for fiscal reform in Louisiana from this past weekend’s election – and in a manner that defied expectations.

Amendment #1 would have centralized state and local sales tax collection by dozens of entities into one, although that new unit itself would have been a committee representing state and local government interests, with future legislation and rule-making further defining the process. That lost by around 15,000 votes.

While a few interest groups stumped for the item’s passage, arguing that the current decentralized system unique among the states discouraged economic development by the complexity involved, no organized opposition arose. Instead, a number of parish government officials behind the scenes discouraged support, contending local governments would find their revenue streams disrupted, with this fear magnified by the nebulous nature of the unestablished regulatory regime.


LA city contests provide both despair, hope

The meaningful Louisiana municipal elections this past weekend point both to some reasons for both despair and hope.

No one can view the outcome of New Orleans elections with any degree of optimism, but that was foreordained when candidate qualifying ended. As city government increasingly becomes an exercise in satisfying leftist elite preferences while defaulting on basic services like picking up trash, the question was how pessimistic case for city revitalization would become as a result of the elections.

As it was, unfortunately more. Reelection of Democrat Mayor LaToya Cantrell highlighted the basic self-governance dysfunctionality etched into the electorate’s psyche, with her drawing only token opposition and a few challengers not otherwise policy clones who largely avoided criticizing most of Cantrell’s social progressivism and government activism except on pandemic restrictions. That guaranteed wretched executive governance for the next four years, but the initial outcomes of councilor elections just made matters worse.