Coming off a string of near-constant severe weather last month that left thousands without power, a review has been launched into Entergy Mississippi’s response to the outages.
Central District Public Service Commissioner Brent Bailey made the announcement on Tuesday morning. Bailey, who has been in office since 2020 and is currently seeking reelection, has been an outspoken critic of what he believes was a lackluster response from the power company.
“It is our responsibility as regulators to ensure that our utilities and power providers are prepared and capable of swiftly restoring power and providing necessary communications during times of outages,” Bailey said. “Entergy Mississippi’s recent widespread outages have raised operational concerns and caused hardships among customers, and this review aims to address those concerns and identify areas for improvement.”
From June 10-23, central Mississippi was hit with near-constant severe weather resulting in major power outages across the region. Outage maps consistently showed throughout the period that a bulk of remaining customers without power were those of Entergy Mississippi.
Many even went to social media, blaming Entergy for seemingly changing its map to be more vague than usual during the burst of storms.
“Still no power. Entergy map has become less informative as the day has gone on,” one person wrote on Twitter.
“Power went out at 5:30 a.m. Going on for 4 hours with no power. Food is only good for 4 hours in the fridge if you don’t open it. Entergy just removed the ETA on the outage map,” another Twitter user chimed in.
When asked about the company’s response on the morning of June 19 – at the time, over 30,000 of the 43,000 customers still without power were with Entergy – CEO Haley Fisackerly said the power company was dealt a rough hand.
“I know customers are frustrated. We are too. It seems like every time we can get a pole up or a line up, another storm comes through,” Fisackerly said, adding that out-of-state aid was not readily available due to neighboring states also seeing severe weather during the timeframe.
Entergy Mississippi’s response to the public service commission will be due in six weeks and is supposed to include an assessment of the timeline of events, protocols and procedures of power restoration, as well as overall preparedness and planning regimes. Any findings from the commission will be made available to the public afterward.