Ooh, so close. Louisiana was about to become the 47th state to help electricity customers buy efficient appliances and make other energy-saving investments.
The Louisiana Public Service Commission had voted 3-2 to in December to approve an energy-efficiency program. Money raised from a new fee on electricity sales would be funneled back to customers in the form of energy-saving subsidies. But then longtime board member Jimmy Field, a supporter of the program, retired from the commission. He was replaced by Scott Angelle, Gov. Bobby Jindal’s former natural resources secretary.
And then commission chairman Eric Skrmetta, who opposed the energy-efficiency program, decided it was time for the commission to cast new votes.
Angelle voted “no” on the program, killing with a 3-2 vote what the Baton Rouge Advocate newspaper described as “the product of an alliance between consumer groups, environmentalists, privately owned utility corporations and the major manufacturers to provide discounts for many home improvements.”
Skrmetta refused to allow the public to voice their support (or opposition) to the program before the commissioners cast their new votes Wednesday, saying they had heard plenty enough testimony back in December, which was before Angelle joined the commission. And that wasn’t the extent of the funny business. From The Advocate:
Jordan Macha, associate regional organizer for the Sierra Club, said the issue was added to the PSC agenda late Friday, giving proponents only two business days’ notice of the move to abandon the program that took three years to put together.
And with that bastardization of democracy, Skrmetta dashed the Cajun State’s glorious prospects of making history by becoming not quite the very last state to adopt such an energy-saving program.