NEW ORLEANS — The Louisiana Supreme Court recently reinstated an order from the Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC) that found Entergy violated a "300-foot rule" in its attempt to win business away from its competitor, Concordia Electric Cooperative.
The LPSC had filed a direct appeal to the state's highest court following a ruling from the 19th Judicial Court in East Baton Rouge Parish in favor of Entergy.
According to the opinion issued March 15, the basis of the underlying complaint came out of the construction of a United Plant Services (UPS) facility in Trout that Entergy provides electrical services for.
Entergy's competitor, Concordia Electric Cooperative, filed a lawsuit with the LPSC claiming that Entergy's service to the facility violated the 300-foot rule because its point of connection was presumed by Concordia to have been within 300 feet of its existing electrical lines.
Before the building was constructed, the two electrical providers were in competition to provide service to the new facility. Concordia also had existing lines that ran along two roadways that bordered the property that were within 300 feet of the property.
When the the facility's architect prepared drawings for the building on the property's 10-acre tract, the entire facility except a small triangular portion was within 300 feet of Concordia's lines. The electric meter for the building was located within the triangular space, which placed it between 302 and 315 feet from various points along Concordia’s lines, the order says.
The dispute went before an administrative law judge (ALJ), who denied Concordia's petition.
The LSPC disagreed during a meeting in June 2015. It voted to reject the ALJ’s recommendation and found that Entergy violated the 300-foot rule.
"If there should be an appeal, and Entergy loses the appeal, Entergy shall immediately disconnect its facilities from UPS and reimburse Concordia for its losses associated with Entergy’s service of UPS from the date of this order," the LSPC order said.
Justice James Genovese wrote the opinion for the Louisiana Supreme Court.
"The LPSC, using its own judgment and evaluation of the evidence, unanimously rejected the reasons presented by Entergy and found that the evidence did support a conclusion that the 300-Foot Rule was intentionally circumvented," he said in the ruling. "We find that there was a reasonable evidentiary basis for the decision of the LPSC. Thus, Entergy has not met its high burden of proving that the decision of the LPSC was arbitrary and capricious."