The trial for Attorney General Jim Hood’s lawsuit against Entergy is underway with Hood aiming to prove that the electric company owes the state approximately $1 billion.
According to Hood, Entergy failed to keep its promise to provide its customers power at the lowest reasonable cost available and to open its books between 1998-2009. He claims that the company violated the Consumer Protection Act by refusing to buy the cheaper electricity generated by newer, more efficient independent gas-powered generators owned by its competitors, which drove them out of business.
At the same time, Hood says that Entergy sold its 447,000 Mississippi ratepayers the most expensive power generated from its old, antiquated electrical generating plants and purchased from its affiliates.
A news release from Hood also states that as the result of a meeting between his office and the Department of Justice, the DOJ launched an investigation into Entergy.
“Because of that investigation and this suit, Entergy was forced to cease its anti-trust activity by turning over control of its transmission system and operation of its generating units to an independent, non-profit entity. This is the reason our electrical rates have decreased, not because of Entergy’s benevolence as it claims,” the release says.
Hood stated that after over a decade, he is ready to present his case.
“For years, Entergy was more interested in paying billions in dividends and buy-backs to its shareholders instead of its duty to provide its Mississippi customers with electricity at the lowest reasonable cost. I have been fighting this case for a decade. It’s time for Entergy to stop being a poor corporate citizen and pay what they owe Mississippians. They’ve wined and dined legislative leadership to try to stop this case from going to trial, but its day of reckoning has come. I’m confident the facts will prevail in court,” Hood said.
Entergy has denied all claims in the lawsuit and stated that they have treated their customers fairly.
“We have always believed that this case should be heard by our regulators and were hopeful the court would find in our favor and grant our motion to dismiss. Regardless, our fuel costs have been audited annually since 1979, and since the suit was first filed in 2008, 20 independent audits have all concluded that there were no inappropriate charges by Entergy Mississippi to its customers. This affirms that we treat our customers fairly,” a statement from Entergy said.
According to Hood, Entergy settled two cases in Louisiana involving similar claims for over $150 million.