Maumelle, Entergy in Public Service Commission tangle

A dispute between the City of Maumelle and Entergy has now stretched into September as the two parties continue to wrangle at the Public Service Commission.

It was in July that Entergy filed its complaint against the city, Mayor Caleb Norris and the City Council.

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Maumelle filed its initial response on July 30 and Administrative Law Judge Connie C. Griffin was named as Presiding Officer on Aug. 16 with Entergy filing a motion to dismiss Maumelle’s response on Aug. 23 and Maumelle responding on Tuesday, Aug. 31.

The Public Service Commission docket for this can be viewed by clicking here.

The dispute is over power poles and in the initial response, City Attorney Melissa Krebs wrote, “Maumelle admits that it identified multiple poles and [Entergy[ facilities that must be relocated for the Crystal Hill Project” as the city has ongoing plans “to widen and improve the road.”

Maumelle wanted Entergy to pay for the relocation, but Entergy was nope, and Krebs wrote that the utility,” would not relocate its facilities unless [Maumelle} paid $142,563.60 in costs for the relocation.”

Krebs added that Entergy’s refusal to move the power poles, “has resulted in a public safety hazard” and that the City Council “passed the resolutions ... as a result of the public safety concerns that resulted from their refusal to relocate their equipment.”

Previously adopted by the City Council were Resolution 2021-17 and Ordinance 1036 and both are related to Entergy.

The initial complaint against Maumelle was previously described as “unusual” by Entergy Arkansas Communications Manager Kacee Kirschvink and she said there’s nothing “in recent memory” of Entergy filing a similar complaint against another city.

In the Aug. 31 response, Krebs brought the heat and Entergy’s “refusal to comply with a mandate of Arkansas law should be sanctioned” and that the utility “should, at the very least, be willing to cooperate with a municipality in providing business records.”

Krebs added, “this refusal has been frivolous and a waste of taxpayer resources.”

Entergy had previously described the Crystal Hill Road widening as a “beautification” project, while Krebs also took exception to.

“[T]his is a misrepresentation of the project at issue, and there are no facts that support this mischaracterization. This project was undertaken to widen the road to create a safer route and to assist in an untenable traffic situation in this area. It is for the health and safety of the public and will benefit all who travel the route, whether a citizen of Maumelle or not.”

Due to its unusual circumstances, there’s no clear timeline on when this issue will be resolved, Public Service Commission Executive Director Donna Gray previously said.