Energy efficiency supporters in Louisiana have sued the Louisiana Public Service Commission over its handling of a decision to nix plans for a statewide energy efficiency program.
In February, the PSC voted 3-2 against pursing the program it had tentatively approved in late 2012. But in a lawsuit filed this week, three organizations – the Alliance for Affordable Energy, the Sierra Club and the Louisiana Environmental Action Network – said the utility regulatory agency broke the state’s open meetings law by refusing to allow public testimony before voting, according to the Associated Press.
At the time of the vote, PSC Chairman Eric Skrmetta, who voted to abandon the energy efficiency plan, said the commission would revisit the idea, hire a different consultant to advise it and hold technical hearings to eventually return with a new approach. However, he didn’t provide a timeline for any of this.
“By not allowing public comments, the Commission failed to uphold their most important duty – to serve the public’s interest,” said Jordan Macha with the Louisiana chapter of the Sierra Club in a statement.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit want a state district judge to overturn the PSC decision and reinstate the commission’s original December 2012 order implementing a Quick Start Energy Efficiency Process for Louisiana PSC jurisdictional investor-owned electric utilities and group-I gas utilities.
The PSC does not have authority over Entergy New Orleans, which is separately governed by the city council. Entergy New Orleans does have an energy efficiency program.