With 551 of 668 precincts reporting, no one has managed to pull ahead in the race for the Public Service Commission’s 1st District.
Incumbent Eric Skrmetta, with 36 percent of the vote, and Forest Bradley Wright, with 38 percent, appear headed for next month’s runoff. A third candidate, Allen “Al” Leone, has hauled in 25 percent.
Skrmetta was elected to the PSC in 2008. Wright, before announcing his candidacy was the utility policy director for the Alliance for Affordable Energy, a New Orleans consumer watchdog organization.
The Public Service Commission regulates rates for publicly owned utilities providing electric, water, wastewater, natural gas and telecommunication services in most of the state. The PSC also must grant approval to those companies before they can issue new stocks and bonds or begin major construction projects such as adding power plants or transmission lines. The independent body also regulates intrastate transportation services.
The commission does not regulate utility companies in Orleans Parish, where the City Council handles that task.