Three nonprofit organizations sued the Louisiana Public Service Commission in Baton Rouge on Monday, asking for reinstatement of an energy efficiency program that was abolished on a 3-2 vote in February.
The program had been approved on a 4-1 vote in December and included incentives for consumers to improve their homes and buy energy-efficient appliances.
The Alliance for Affordable Energy, Sierra Club and Louisiana Environmental Action Network joined forces to sue the PSC in 19th Judicial District Court. The groups alleged that the commission improperly refused in February to permit program supporters to speak against its abolition. The move violated the state’s Open Meetings Law, according to the nonprofit organizations.
PSC telephones were not answered late Monday afternoon. Executive Director/Executive Counsel Eve Gonzales did not respond to an emailed request for comment.
“It is my hope that this lawsuit will put the ‘Public’ back into ‘Public Service Commission,’” Casey DeMoss Roberts, executive director of the Alliance for Affordable Energy, said in a written statement.
In February, PSC Chairman Eric Skrmetta, of Metairie, was joined by commissioners Scott Angelle, of Breaux Bridge, and Clyde Holloway, of Forest Hill, in canceling the new program.
Commissioners Lambert Boissiere III, of New Orleans, and Foster Campbell, of Bossier Parish, unsuccessfully supported the new program.
“By not allowing public comments, the (commissioners’) vote” violated a Louisiana law that provides for public comment before such actions, said Jordan Macha, associate regional organizer for the Sierra Club.