On Tuesday afternoon, Entergy Arkansas filed a complaint with the Public Service Commission against the City of Maumelle, Mayor Caleb Morris and the City Council.
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A link to the complaint can be read by clicking here.
Entergy’s reasoning was the city’s “adoption of two resolutions [Entergy] believes are unreasonable” among other things.
Adopted at the last City Council meet were Resolution 2021-17 which Council member Chad Gardner described in his City Council report as involving "a request for Entergy to disclose records regarding their business practices" and the other was Ordinance 1036, which Gardner said, "would update our franchise agreement and require public utilities operating in Maumelle to move their equipment at their expense."
Both revolve around what Gardner described as a standoff over power lines in the city’s right-of-way in the Crystal Hill Road renovation project.
“If you have traveled that way lately, you’ll know that the road has been torn up on both sides and is currently only a 1-way street to accommodate the construction,” Gardner wrote. “Construction has been essentially halted since Entergy has not been responding to the city’s requests.”
Gardner added Norris and Krebs “have made multiple requests to Entergy for information on how we can get this resolved and there has been little progress.”
Norris said Wednesday that City Attorney Melissa Krebs was working on a response to the complaint and that it would be filed with the PSC. It was not yet available but the docket can be viewed by clicking here. The only actions taken by Krebs on Wednesday were proof of service of the complaint on behalf of those named.
This story will be updated with the City’s response.
The complaint against the city of Maumelle is unusual as Entergy Arkansas Communications Manager Kacee Kirschvink acknowledged in an email with ArkansasNewsroom.com, who said there’s nothing “in recent memory” of Entergy filing a similar complaint against another city.
“Entergy Arkansas is actively working to assist Maumelle in relocating poles, power lines and electrical equipment to accommodate the road widening of Crystal Hill Road,” Kirschvink said. “The City Council’s resolution, however, would require Entergy Arkansas to relocate lines at the expense of all customers statewide.”
She continued, “In working with Maumelle officials to accommodate the Crystal Hill Road widening project, we have an obligation to ensure that such relocations are accomplished in a way that does not force all other Entergy Arkansas customers outside of Maumelle to bear the costs associated with that work.”
Kirschvink added, “because the city proceeded unilaterally with a resolution that contradicts the parties’ franchise agreement, Entergy Arkansas filed an official complaint with the Arkansas Public Service Commission to preserve rights under the law on behalf of all other customers. Entergy Arkansas and Maumelle officials are discussing an amicable approach forward. We will be ready to begin work once we reach agreement, so the project can be completed for Maumelle citizens and our customers who reside in that area.”
Below is the email transcript of the questions posed to Entergy Arkansas and the answers received.
Q: Is there a recent example of Entergy filing a similar complaint against another city?
A: Not in recent memory.
Q: As I understand it, the complaint is in response to a recent ordinance passed by the City Council. Did Entergy work with the city government in Maumelle to keep that from happening?
A: Yes, discussions were in progress with the city at the time of the City Council’s vote on the resolution (not ordinance). Those discussions continue at this time.
Q: The dispute appears to be over company equipment at Crystal Hill Road. Specifically power poles and the city maintains that planned road work can't be completed, so what would be [a] resolution that would be satisfactory to Entergy?
A: Both sides are trying to reach an agreement. Such an agreement would facilitate Entergy Arkansas performing the work the city has identified pending a decision on the complaint concerning whether the city or Entergy Arkansas’ customers have the obligation to pay the costs.
Q: When a complaint is sent to the PSC, what's a typical timeline for a resolution?
A: There is no prescribed timeline. However, under the law, Entergy Arkansas had to file the complaint with the Arkansas Public Service Commission within 20 days after the resolution was passed by the council and served on Entergy Arkansas.
Q: Anything else you'd like to add?
A: Not at this time, thank you.
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