Regulation works 

The individual consumer is no match for a giant utility. His government is his equalizer. A few years back, the legislature succumbed to special interests (again) and surrendered the people’s defense, enacting legislation to end state regulation of electricity. After the Enron explosion, the lawmakers reversed course and re-regulated. Friday’s order from the state Public Service Commission shows the wisdom of that decision.

Entergy, Arkansas’s biggest power company, had asked the PSC to approve a $106.5 million rate increase, and a return on equity of 11.25 percent. Instead of agreeing that Entergy wasn’t making enough money, the PSC found it was making too much. The commissioners ordered a rate reduction of $5.67 million, and approved a return on equity of 9.9 percent. The shock in the Entergy office must have been severe. A fly on the wall would have gotten an earful, no doubt.

In the order, the PSC denied Entergy requests to recover certain expenses from its customers. The Commission reduced by more than $21 million the amount of incentive pay and stock options proposed for Entergy executives, and it rejected outright Entergy’s request that its customers pay for entertainment expenses that included tickets to sporting events and concerts, golf balls and golf tournaments, and dinners and alcohol for political figures. Dick Cheney will shed bitter tears that an American energy company could be treated this way.

We don’t know how much of the credit for this decision belongs to the commission’s new chairman, Paul Suskie, and how much to the other two commissioners, Sandra L. Hochstetter and Daryl E. Bassett. But we remember that when Suskie was appointed by Gov. Mike Beebe early this year, there was speculation that the Commission might become more pro-consumer. Unlike some commissioners, Suskie had no utility connections. He had held elective office, and, it was said, might seek it again. Mention of Suskie requires mention of Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, who opposed the Entergy request, and who, coincidentally, defeated Suskie in last year’s election. No problem. There’s sufficient glory to go around.

Behind Bulgaria

The Associated Press reports that the last three dancing bears in Bulgaria have been retired through the efforts of animal-welfare activists. Dancing bears are trained in a particularly cruel manner, painful rings put through their noses when they’re young to ensure submission, then forced to walk on burning embers and jump from one foot to another to lessen the pain. Even Bulgaria no longer tolerates such barbaric treatment of animals. If those bears’ owners had brought them to Arkansas, where the Farm Bureau blocks animal-cruelty laws, the animals might still be enduring torture, perhaps performing at a Farm Bureau convention.



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Arkansas Times Staff

  • Friday's headlines and your holiday open line

    What happened at the State Board of Education and what does it mean; Legislation filed for Hutchinson's government reorganization plan; Pediatric flu-related death in Arkansas reported; Suspect arrested in unsolved 2008 North Little Rock homicide.
    • Dec 21, 2018
  • New episode of Rock the Culture: "Juice In Your Own Life"

    In this week’s episode, Charles and Antwan provide perspective and conversation on the Little Rock Mayoral Election and State Board of Education’s consideration of the anticipated request to waive the Fair Teacher Dismissal Act. In addition, Charles and Antwan discuss all things happening in the Little Rock School District with Superintendent Michael Poore.
    • Dec 11, 2018
  • End of the week headlines and your open line

    Alderman candidate misses chance to cast deciding vote for himself in runoff election; Dem-Gaz to phase out print delivery in El Dorado, Camden and Magnolia; Rapert threatens UA Fort Smith over 'Drag Queen Story Time' event; The Van seeks to raise $35,000 in three weeks for new warehouse facility in South Little Rock.
    • Dec 7, 2018
  • More »

Latest in Editorials

  • The end of an era

    We're sad to report that Doug Smith has decided to retire. Though he's been listed as an associate editor on our masthead for the last 22 years, he has in fact been the conscience of the Arkansas Times. He has written all but a handful of our unsigned editorials since we introduced an opinion page in 1992.
    • May 8, 2014
  • A stand for equality

    Last week, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel became the first elected statewide official to express support for same-sex marriage. His announcement came days before Circuit Judge Chris Piazza is expected to rule on a challenge to the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Soon after, a federal challenge of the law is expected to move forward. McDaniel has pledged to "zealously" defend the Arkansas Constitution but said he wanted the public to know where he stood.
    • May 8, 2014
  • Same old, same old

    Remarking as we were on the dreariness of this year's election campaigns, we failed to pay sufficient tribute to the NRA, one of the most unsavory and, in its predictability, dullest of the biennial participants in the passing political parade.
    • May 1, 2014
  • More »

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Of Freud and foolishness

    • How nice... the lawyerly Democritus offers a personal criticism, without benefit of the reason for…

    • on January 18, 2019
  • Re: Of Freud and foolishness

    • Please tell me that the Times did not give Lyons money to produce this drivel…

    • on January 17, 2019
  • Re: Of Freud and foolishness

    • Perhaps, dss, the relevant data is found in the types of jobs held by men…

    • on January 16, 2019

© 2019 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation