Louisiana energy officials shelve proposal to withdraw from power grid

Public Service Commission revises meeting agenda 24 hours before scheduled vote

By: - November 16, 2021 1:16 pm
Louisiana energy officials threaten to withdraw from interstate power grid

Smoke rises from distant stacks at Entergy’s power plant in Reserve, Louisiana, on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021, just one week before Louisiana Public Service Commissioners plan to vote on whether to withdraw from the interstate power grid MISO. (Wes Muller/Louisiana Illuminator).

Efforts by some state officials to withdraw Louisiana from the interstate power grid that brought competition to a market once dominated by Entergy have stalled. A day before it was to hold a vote on the matter, the Louisiana Public Service Commission postponed a proposal to issue a one-year notice of withdrawal from the MISO power grid. 

MISO stands for Midcontinent Independent System Operator and is a nonprofit association that manages the power grid across 15 states and the Canadian province of Manitoba, providing electricity to 42 million people.   

District 5 Commissioner Foster Campbell, who represents northern Louisiana, said he was pleased to learn Tuesday morning that the commission’s Nov. 17 meeting agenda had been revised to reflect the motion as deferred. He said he did not know who made the change. 

“They took it off, and I don’t think you’ll hear any more out of it,” Campbell said.

The motion was originally proposed and placed on the agenda by District 1 Commissioner Eric Skrmetta, who represents the southeastern areas of the state outside of New Orleans. Skrmetta could not be reached by phone Tuesday morning.

Concerned with the costs of wind farm projects being considered for approval in northern states, Skrmetta last month had proposed withdrawing from MISO and exploring membership options with other power grid operators. He said wind power was “unreliable.”

In an email to the Illuminator last week, MISO officials said the wind projects would not cost Louisiana anything.  

Any motion marked “Deferred” is automatically taken up at the next scheduled meeting, Public Service Commission Press Secretary Colby Cook said. The commission’s next meeting will be Dec. 14.

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Wes Muller
Wes Muller

Wes Muller traces his journalism roots back to 1997 when, at age 13, he built and launched a hyper-local news website for his New Orleans neighborhood. In the years since then, he has freelanced for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans and worked on staff at the Sun Herald in Biloxi, WAFB-9News CBS in Baton Rouge, and the Enterprise-Journal in McComb, Mississippi. He also taught English as an adjunct instructor at Baton Rouge Community College. Much of his journalism has involved reporting on First Amendment issues and coverage of municipal and state government. He has received recognitions including McClatchy's National President's Award, the Associated Press Freedom of Information Award, and the Daniel M. Phillips Freedom of Information Award from the Mississippi Press Association, among others. Muller is a New Orleans native, a Jesuit High School alumnus, a University of New Orleans alumnus and a veteran U.S. Army paratrooper. He lives in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, with his two sons and his wife, who is also a journalist.

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