La. governor calls for review, reduction of utility rates after federal tax rewrite

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Louisiana's governor is asking the state's Public Service Commission (PSC) to review and potentially reduce utility rates in light of the federal tax rewrite signed into law in December.

Under the new tax law, the corporate tax rate is cut by 14 percent. Utility companies like Entergy stand to benefit. The Edwards administration says those savings should be passed on to customers.

"If the rate plans are based on a 30 percent corporate tax rate and the tax rate is now 21 percent, we should see lower rates for consumers," said Revenue Sec. Kimberly Robinson.

Commissioner Craig Greene says the PSC, which regulates utilities, is already reviewing the current rates to see if it's possible for them to be reduced. The commissioners decided to do so at their last meeting in December, asking their staff to analyze the tax law and recommend changes.

Governor John Bel Edwards sent a letter to the PSC Thursday. In it, he cited Dominion Energy, which announced plans to reduce rates by 5 percent for customers in South Carolina thanks in part to lower corporate taxes.

"We hope to hear similar news from Louisiana companies as they carefully review the impact of the federal tax legislation on their bottom lines," he wrote.

Click here to see the governor's full letter to the Public Service Commission

Greene said even if the rates do not drop due to the tax law, any savings could be used to offset potential future rate hikes needed to pay for infrastructure improvements.

"It's all the rate-payer's money to begin with, and if we can give it back to them in a way that they can have it instead of us or the utility companies, that would be ideal," Greene said.

The PSC staff is expected to report its findings in February.

A spokesman for Entergy said it's too early to tell what impact the tax law will have. Meanwhile, a DEMCO spokesman said they already try to keep their rates as low as possible.

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