With investigation looming, Entergy power plant opponents want fresh vote_lowres

A rendering of the proposed gas power plant in New Orleans East.

The New Orleans City Council will seek $5 million in fines from Entergy New Orleans to sanction the company for its use of paid actors at public hearings related to its proposed power plant in New Orleans East.

The council will begin the process of seeking those fines at a special meeting on Wednesday, two days after a third-party report on the scandal was released by the council.

The council is not expected to seek to overturn the approval of the new, $210 million power plant the actors were paid to support.

If the council moves forward with an effort to fine the company on Wednesday, it would open up a 30-day period for the company, the council's experts and others to weigh in on the plan. The council would then have to vote again to impose the fine.

The fine would likely be earmarked for some combination of electrical reliability projects, energy efficiency efforts and refunds to the utility's customers.

The report released Monday evening found that Entergy "knew or should have known" that subcontractors it hired for public relations efforts surrounding the approval of the power plant had hired actors to attend meetings in support of the proposal. Those meetings happened before most of the current council members took office.

Those familiar with the investigation and the council's regulation of Entergy have said that overturning the decision to authorize the power plant would require proving the utility's actions impacted the actual evidence presented to the council and its consultants regarding the need for a new plant.


Follow Jeff Adelson on Twitter, @jadelson.​