Skip to content
Mississippi Public Service...

Mississippi Public Service Commissioners want answers from Entergy

By: Frank Corder - July 11, 2023

The Mississippi Public Service Commission on February 7, 2023. Pictured are Commissioner Brent Bailey (left), Dane Maxwell (center) and Brandon Presley (right).

Last month, Mississippi residents across much of the central part of the state were hit with repeated severe weather over the course of two weeks. The result was a prolonged loss of power for many Entergy Mississippi customers, the likes of which had not been seen since 2005 when Hurricane Katrina came ashore in the Magnolia State.

The delay in power restoration struck a nerve with Central District Public Service Commissioner Brent Bailey. 

“I am extremely frustrated and disappointed by Entergy Mississippi’s response to the recent storms,” Commissioner Bailey said at the time. “The delay in restoring power has caused significant hardship for their customers and it is unacceptable.”

In a statement, Bailey went on to question the company’s lack of preparation, vegetation management and a decrease in field staff. He called on Entergy to provide more detailed reports regarding their response to the storms. 

“Our job as Commissioners is to hold our utilities and power providers accountable for providing affordable and reliable service,” added Bailey in June.

In an interview with Magnolia Tribune days later, Entergy Mississippi’s CEO Haley Fisackerly said the company had over 2,300 workers on site across their service area from six different states. The storms affected 34 of the 45 counties Entergy serves. The company identified the magnitude of the damage, noting over 580 broken power poles, 2,243 spans of wire (or roughly 117 miles), and 182 destroyed transformers.

Today, the Mississippi Public Service Commission took up an order relating to the 2023 weather events. Commissioner Bailey addressed the order, saying his office in the Central District received “countless, hundreds of calls from customers voicing their frustration, their confusion and overall, just general dissatisfaction with the communication process” in the restoration procedures.

“There are questions that continue to linger in our office, myself, trying to understand exactly what are the issues that were out there that led to the large number of outages, the timeframe of which some of the outages occurred, and the overall lack of communication to customers, in some cases days at a time,” Bailey said, adding that his criticism was not directed at the “boots on the ground” linemen.

Commissioner Bailey said he worked with Commission staff to draft the order to initiate a review or investigation into what occurred from when the state first saw the storms impact the state. He wants to get answers to whether the utility company was prepared knowing what was heading their way.

“Did Entergy, in this case, is who this review is directed at, take enough proper actions to anticipate such an event, multiple events in bringing the crews in and other individuals as necessary in preparation of what turned out to be a long haul for everybody?” Bailey asked.

The review of Entergy’s response will include:

  • Detailed accounting and cause of outages
  • Efforts by the company to communicate with customers
  • An explanation of the outage map
  • How advanced metering infrastructure plays into performance and communication to customers
  • What investments in distribution and vegetation management need to be considered.

Commissioner Bailey wants Entergy to answer how they can better prepare when facing severe weather events, cyber-attacks, and other issues, and how can the company communicate in a more trusted manner.

The order passed the Commission unanimously, with Southern District Commissioner Dane Maxwell and Northern District Commissioner Brandon Presley supporting the review.

In a statement sent to Magnolia Tribune from Entergy Mississippi, the company says they look forward to providing the Commission with a deeper understanding of the challenges faced last month.

We appreciate the Commission’s acknowledgment of the unprecedented nature of the June storms, and we wholeheartedly agree with the Commission’s praise of Entergy Mississippi line workers and contractors who have worked tirelessly for days on end to restore power to customers. We look forward to the opportunity to provide the Commission with a deeper understanding of the challenges that last month’s treacherous weather brought into our service area, and the strategies we quickly implemented to avoid further delay to our customers. We have an intensive storm evaluation process, and we are working to correct issues experienced by the systems that identify where outages exist and provide customers with information about their outage and estimated restoration timeline. As we always do, we will keep the Commission apprised through this process.

You can watch the full Public Service Commission meeting from today below.

About the Author(s)
author profile image

Frank Corder

Frank Corder is a native of Pascagoula. For nearly two decades, he has reported and offered analysis on government, public policy, business and matters of faith. Frank’s interviews, articles, and columns have been shared throughout Mississippi as well as in national publications such as the Daily Caller. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, providing insight and commentary on the inner workings of the Magnolia State. Frank has served his community in both elected and appointed public office, hosted his own local radio and television programs, and managed private businesses all while being an engaged husband and father. Email Frank: