The Power to Decide

Crash with police car leaves one dead
August 14, 2007
Bertha Dempster
August 16, 2007

Terrebonne Parish continues to inch forward with a potential sale or lease of its electric utility system.

An initial 80-page report on the Houma system’s value was provided to Entergy last month, and a similar assessment of the natural gas supply system is expected later this month.

According to Terrebonne Parish Utilities Director Tom Bourg, the electric utility has a “book value” of $26-plus million. So far.

When figuring the value of the utility, however, the parish must also consider the services the parish’s power plant provides.

Terrebonne Parish gained about $3 million last year from a commodity charge on city electric bills. The money was used for city police and fire departments, City Court, the City Marshal’s Office, the Municipal Auditorium, Good Earth Transit, the Bayou Terrebonne Waterlife Museum and various city repairs and renovations.

Finding alternative funding for these worthy expenses will be essential in any final decision to sell or lease the electric utility.

Understandably, the parish council first broached the idea of unloading Terrebonne’s utilities after hurricanes Katrina and Rita ripped across Louisiana’s coast. Although Houma’s power was quickly restored, it was done so at a high price.

Too high, many customers complained.

In an effort to lower utility prices for Houma’s 26,185 customers, the parish council is exploring all options n including selling or leasing the electric system.

As the council, Entergy Corporation and South Louisiana Electric Cooperative Association continue to explore a possible deal, the Tri-Parish Times urges residents to stay plugged in to the issue.