Public Rights Prevail at LPSC

Monday, 21 May 2013

Contact: Jordan Macha, Sierra Club, 713-299-4300

Casey DeMoss Roberts, AAE, 504-982-0468

Public Rights Prevail at PSC

PSC Moves to Improve Public Participation

BATON ROUGE, LA – The Alliance for Affordable Energy, the Sierra Club, the Louisiana Environmental Action Network, and the League of Women Voters of Louisiana are pleased today after reaching an agreement with the Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC) over the handling of the energy efficiency rules. In April, the groups filed a lawsuit against the PSC stating that their members’ rights were violated when Commission Chair Skrmetta refused to allow public testimony before repealing the popular law. In the petition, the groups asked the Court to vacate the February 27th vote and call for a new vote on the reconsideration of the statewide energy efficiency rules in accordance with Louisiana’s open meetings law.

In the agreement reached by the groups and the LPSC, the February 27th vote will be vacated and the energy efficiency rules will be up for reconsideration and vote at the June meeting; at this time, the public will be given the opportunity to make public comment.

Today, Commissioner Skrmetta announced that the LPSC intends to encourage the public’s participation. “This is the public’s meeting, this is the public’s body, this is the public’s business,” he noted in his opening remarks. Since the misstep in February, notable changes have been made to public comment procedures at the regular meetings. The public now has the opportunity to fill out a comment request card and sign in for each regular Business and Executive meeting, a protocol more closely in line with other regulatory and government bodies across the state.

“As watchdog organizations, it was our duty to stand up for the legal rights of Louisiana citizens. These proceedings need to be transparent and allow public comment, ” said Casey DeMoss Roberts, Executive Director of the Alliance for Affordable Energy. “Today the Commission sent a clear signal that the public should be a part of the process.”

“The statewide energy efficiency rules serve to provide clean, affordable energy for Louisianans,” notes Jordan Macha, Gulf States Representative for the Sierra Club. “With ratepayers and citizens across the state bearing the burden of the PSC’s decision on energy efficiency, it is imperative that they be given an opportunity for meaningful participation.”

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