Your Vote on December 5th Will Impact Billions of Dollars and Our Planet’s Future

While it may not be the race that everyone’s talking about, it should be. The run-off for the Louisiana Public Service Commission District 1 seat will decide where billions of residents’ dollars go, and the fate of solar energy in Louisiana. 

Whether solar sinks or swims, how much you pay for utilities, and who you pay for utilities are all affected by who occupies the District 1 throne. 

Will it be Eric Skrmetta, the King of Corruption and current Republican incumbent, or Allen Borne, the Democratic challenger? 

We’ll all find out after the December 5th run-off this weekend. 

The differences between the two are striking, and most noticeable when comparing their campaign donations. 

The majority of Skrmetta’s campaign donations come from the utility companies he is supposed to be regulating. Of Skrmetta’s $369,584 in campaign donations $257,812, which is 70%, came from lobbyists and officials who represent companies monitored by the commission. Nearly $50,000 came from Entergy while $14,350 came from Stone Pigman, a law firm that’s hired to do a lot of work for the PSC. 

Skrmetta’s challenger Borne on the other hand only took $13,951 from friends and family and used $70,000 of his own money. Borne commented, “I believe the Legislature, if the PSC itself won’t, should ban contributions from the companies the PSC regulates as a monopoly.” What a fresh take on something that should clearly, already be a law. 

Skrmetta doesn’t just favor industries that pay him off though, he also has a sweet spot for friends and business partners, handing contracts out to them like they’re beads and he’s a carefree, Mardi Gras float rider. 

We all love to give our friends gifts, but the $500,000 in contracts he gave to his personal attorney and business partner Scott McQuaig seems like a bit much, never mind the $17.9 million of customer money he awarded to his friend and personal filmmaker Jason Hewitt between 2017-2019. 

Hewitt’s company Brilliant Efficiencies was given 50/89 awarded through the PSC’s Public Entities program. Before you say, “Well maybe he deserved them” consider the fact that of those 50 projects, over half of them failed to actually save enough energy to pay for themselves in 10 years, which is a benchmark the energy efficiency industry uses to judge whether a project was actually successful. 

Even weirder, in 2017 Brilliant Efficiencies accounted for 90% of the applications for funding, which might have had something to do with how the program’s guidelines were first published on May 15th with a May 15th due date. On May 24th the PSC recognized this due date was a mistake and extended the due date to June 15th, which wasn’t long at all. The reason Hewitt may have been able to bid so quickly was because of his personal and working relationship with Skrmetta. 

Does Skrmetta care that he’s regularly chosen someone for these energy efficiency programs that’s clearly not right for the job? 

Of course not, because Eric Skrmetta wants Louisiana residents to use energy so businesses like Entergy can profit and keep him in power. 

Skrmetta constantly goes on and on about how his only goal is to lower the cost of utilities for customers in Louisana. However, hypocritically, he spearheaded the killing of an energy-efficiency program in 2013 that would have incentivized customers to use less energy for monetary rewards. 

In encouraging more energy usage, Skrmetta hurts the environment. But he’s made it clear time and time again, through handicapping the solar industry in Louisiana, that he doesn’t care about the environment. 

Skrmetta is no friend to solar energy. He stalled approval of a project to ship wind and solar energy from where it’s cheapest in the country to where it’s more expensive. 

Skrmetta slashed solar net metering benefits in 2019 so that people received far less compensation for the extra power that they transferred to the grid. These benefits had previously incentivized customers to get solar energy and were viewed as a death sentence for solar in Louisiana. 

In regard to Skrmetta’s blocking and stalling of solar policies, the President of Solar Alternatives, Jim Cantin commented, “There’s a lot of frustration from the solar community on how one-sided the process has been so far. And obviously, the chairman of the commission has a lot of influence in how that process plays out…It has been such a hard slog just to get a fair conversation about net metering, what distributed renewables should look like, and even how the state’s larger renewable programs are being handled.” 

Skrmetta is a slimeball who continues to scam Louisana residents out of money while doing his best to pollute the planet as much as possible while he’s in power. We deserve better. 


Help Keep Big Easy Magazine Alive

Hey guys!

Covid-19 is challenging the way we conduct business. As small businesses suffer economic losses, they aren’t able to spend money advertising.

Please donate today to help us sustain local independent journalism and allow us to continue to offer subscription-free coverage of progressive issues.

Thank you,
Scott Ploof
Big Easy Magazine

Share this Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *