Judge orders Entergy to turn over customer information to third-party water manager

FILE - U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate smiles on Aug. 19, 2022, in Jackson, Miss. (AP...
FILE - U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate smiles on Aug. 19, 2022, in Jackson, Miss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)(Rogelio V. Solis | AP)
Published: Aug. 22, 2023 at 3:12 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Jackson’s third-party water manager will soon have additional records to help determine how many customers in the city could be receiving water without paying for it.

On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Henry Wingate ordered Entergy Mississippi to turn over information on customers in 32 ZIP codes, including 29 in the capital city and three in the city of Byram.

“This is essential to updating and correcting the information contained in the city of Jackson’s records of active and inactive water and sewer accounts,” the judge wrote.

Henifin and JXN Water will use the information to cross-reference the city’s accounts and help determine how many customers could be receiving water illegally.

The order comes more than a month after Henifin told Wingate that as many as 7,000 property owners in the city were receiving water, despite not having an account.

The third-party manager estimated providing water to those customers cost Jackson taxpayers about $3.6 million a year.

That amount is on top of the millions of dollars JXN Water has billed but has been unable to collect.

“We collect roughly 56 percent of what we’re billing,” Henifin said at the time. “You can’t bring in the revenue you need to survive. It’s probably one of the reasons [we’re in this] position today because of years of declining revenue.”

Entergy must provide the information no later than 30 days from the date of the order.

Information to be submitted to the third-party includes the names, billing addresses, service addresses, home phone numbers, and cell phone numbers of Entergy customers residing in JXN Water’s service area.

Entergy provided the following statement:

“Entergy Mississippi’s general policy is that we do not disclose customers’ personal information. However, we are reviewing the order that the court entered [Monday], and based on that review, will determine how the company will respond.”

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