Mississippi Public Service Commission launches review of Entergy’s response to June storms

Published: Jul. 11, 2023 at 8:33 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - We have an update regarding your questions about what happened with the delay in getting the lights back on after last month’s storms. The state commission is taking your questions directly to Entergy.

“I just feel like they need to do better,” said Entergy customer Jeanne Baxley. “They need to be better prepared. It’s not all about the almighty dollar. We’re talking about service to the people who pay their bills, and they have a responsibility to us. And I expect that responsibility to come through when we are in need.”

Jeanne Baxley lost power at her Edwards home Tuesday morning for the fourth time since June’s storms. She called Public Service Commissioner Brent Bailey just before the Commission meeting. What she didn’t know was that he was planning to propose a formal review of Entergy’s response to last month’s series of storms.

“We were without power for seven days amid 100-degree temperatures,” described Baxley. “There was no communication between us as community members and Entergy because you couldn’t get through to talk to someone unless it was in Timbuktu. Well, that doesn’t help us here.”

The commission approved the item. With that, Entergy has six weeks to answer questions ranging from customer service to whether they were prepared.

“Did we have adequate personnel in place?” asked Central District Public Service Commissioner Brent Bailey. “Were the preparations made internally? What I’m certainly interested in are these plans and practices and procedures, are they what we need in today’s world of technology and communications and customer expectations?”

We asked Baxley what she thinks of the review.

“I’m glad to know that there’s somebody working for the citizens instead of just a power-hungry Entergy corporation who throws the third finger up at all the people that are without power.”

“We understand that we cannot control the weather and Mother Nature, as we saw, was very, very unforgiving over the last several weeks,” said Bailey. “But what we can control is some of the internal policies and practices and procedures and understand what Entergy does in preparation for this, how they began communicating with our customers to make preparations. And we saw, quite frankly, a lapse in communication both outside Entergy to their customers and potentially even within Entergy itself, and some of the preparations needed to be made in gearing up for such an event.”

Entergy sent the following statement in response:

“We appreciate the Commission’s acknowledgment of the unprecedented nature of the June storms, and we wholeheartedly agree with the Commission’s praise for Entergy Mississippi line workers and contractors who have worked tirelessly for days on end to restore power to customers. We look forward to the opportunity to provide the Commission with a deeper understanding of the challenges that last month’s treacherous weather brought to our service area, and the strategies we quickly implemented to avoid further delays for our customers.

We have an intensive storm evaluation process, and we are working to correct issues experienced by the systems that identify where outages exist and provide customers with information about their outage and estimated restoration timeline. As we always do, we will keep the Commission apprised throughout this process.”

Residents and businesses are asked to share their experiences during the outages with the commission. To provide feedback regarding Entergy Mississippi’s restoration and/or communication efforts, customers must email their input to: emlresponse@psc.ms.gov.

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