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Entergy pays the price for CEO's untimely vacation

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Henry Craver's picture
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As a small business owner, I'm always trying to find ways to cut costs and boost the dependability of my services. To that end, I've become increasingly invested in learning about energy saving...

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  • May 31, 2022
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The Louisiana Public Service Commission is going to require Entergy and other private utilities in the state to pay 20% of storm repairs going forward. The draft order came down following a confrontation between PSC Commissioner Foster Cambell and Entergy CEO Leo Denault. Part of the exchange appears in this article over at New Orleans City Business: 

‘“It really troubles me that y’all don’t have any skin in the game, but I have a solution,” Campbell said. “I want 20% to go to the ratepayers. That’s a small portion” of the $2 billion.

“I think ya’ll ought to put back in $400 million back toward the ratepayers,” he said, noting the high rate of poverty in Louisiana. “Would you agree to that?”

“No, I would not,” Denault said. “I think we need to go through the process and see where we come out. … We need to make sure that the company continues to have the financial flexibility to have the confidence of the capital markets to be able to respond during those events.”

Denault highlighted the company’s investments in improving efficiency, a shift toward more renewable energy, Entergy’s charitable contributions and advocacy in Congress to help secure relief for customers.”

Leo Denault makes all the arguments you’d expect him to, and they’re not without merit. However, I think the confrontation, and resulting order, could have been avoided if Denault had made better decisions. Shortly after receiving a $1 million pay raise, the CEO escaped with his family to Vail during Hurricane Ida. That’s not a good look. And even if it makes little real world difference to ratepayers, ostentatious displays of wealth and privilege engender resentment more than bad policies. 

Utilities and their leaders can’t always be liked, but situations like this are avoidable.

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