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Louisiana PSC awarded $17.3 Million in Customer Money to Business Partner of Commissioner Skrmetta

Louisiana PSC awarded $17.3 Million in Customer Money to Business Partner of Commissioner Skrmetta

The Louisiana Public Service Commission awarded $17.3 million of customer money from 2017 to 2019 to Jason Hewitt, the personal filmmaker of Commissioner Eric Skrmetta, to develop energy efficiency projects for local governments, most of which were not projected to cost-effectively save energy. Skrmetta and Hewitt, owner of Films in Motion, have worked together in film production since at least 2018, according to IMDB. Brilliant Efficiencies, an energy efficiency company owned by Hewitt, was awarded 50 of the 89 total awarded projects, or 56% of all awarded projects, from 2017 through 2019 for the Public Service Commission’s (PSC) “Public Entities” program. The program awarded full grants for energy efficiency projects to local governments if the Commissioner whose district included that project selected it for approval.Of the 50 projects awarded to Brilliant Efficiencies between 2017 and 2019, 27 failed to save enough energy to pay for themselves within 10 years. A ten-year payback period is a benchmark often used by the energy efficiency industry to determine whether a project is an effective use of customer money. Because the Public Entities program covered the full cost of the projects, recipients of the awards did not have to consider a payback period as would a regular customer insulating their home or a small business upgrading their lighting. Instead, utility ratepayers were covering the costs.

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$529k of Customer Money Approved for Personal Attorney and Business Partner of Louisiana Utility Commissioner Eric Skrmetta

$529k of Customer Money Approved for Personal Attorney and Business Partner of Louisiana Utility Commissioner Eric Skrmetta

$529k of Customer Money Approved for Personal Attorney and Business Partner of Louisiana Utility Commissioner Eric Skrmetta

The Louisiana Public Service Commission approved more than $500,000 in contracts, ultimately paid by customers on their utility bills, to Scott McQuaig, a lawyer with a troubling record who has co-founded multiple ventures with Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Eric Skrmetta. The Commission approved one contract with McQuaig after he had been suspended indefinitely from practicing law by the Louisiana Supreme Court. Commissioner Skrmetta did not recuse himself in any vote to approve McQuaig’s contracts, instead seconding the motions to approve two of the contracts and making the motion to approve a contract one time, despite his multi-decade relationship with McQuaig

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PSC member Skrmetta attempted to bring casino to Harvey in 1993; signed lease letter of intent before his election

PSC member Skrmetta attempted to bring casino to Harvey in 1993; signed lease letter of intent before his election

PSC member Skrmetta attempted to bring casino to Harvey in 1993; signed lease letter of intent before his election

LouisianaVoice has learned that Louisiana Public Service Commission member Eric Skrmetta, in addition to his involvement in a Mississippi Gulf Coast casino operation, also entered into an agreement with the same company in an effort to gain approval of a casino in Harvey, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans in adjacent Jefferson Parish.

Skrmetta, of Metairie, represents PSC’s 1st District.

Neither the income he derived from his partnership with Boomtown Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi, nor the agreement with Boomtown in the Jefferson Parish endeavor are mentioned in his FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE STATEMENT on file with the Louisiana Board of Ethics

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PSC member Skrmetta a stakeholder in Mississippi casino but fails to include this detail in financial disclosure report

PSC member Skrmetta a stakeholder in Mississippi casino but fails to include this detail in financial disclosure report

PSC member Skrmetta a stakeholder in Mississippi casino but fails to include this detail in financial disclosure report

So, how did a member of the Louisiana Public Service Commission (PSC) come to have a stake in the casino gambling business?

And why doesn’t his 2019 personal financial disclosure statement, required of all public officials by the Louisiana Board of Ethics, make no mention of his involvement in gaming operations in Mississippi?

Eric Skrmetta of New Orleans is being opposed by six challengers as he seeks reelection to the District 1 PSC seat in the Nov. 3 election. District 1 is comprised of all or parts of Orleans, Jefferson, Ascension, St. Bernard, Plaquemine, St. Charles, and the Florida parishes of Livingston, Tangipahoa, Washington, St. Helena and St. Tammany.

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A smug Skrmetta displayed unprecedented contempt for Robert Tasman…

A smug Skrmetta displayed unprecedented contempt for Robert Tasman…

A smug Skrmetta displayed unprecedented contempt for Robert Tasman who, through frequent interruptions and challenges from the chairman, attempted to read a statement on behalf of the conference which called upon the PSC to reduce exorbitant telephone rates for prison inmates.

Skrmetta’s rude behavior got so bad at one point that it provoked a challenge by fellow PSC member Foster Campbell who admonished the chairman, suggesting that he keep quiet until Tasman completed his testimony.

That only served to spark a heated verbal exchange between Campbell and Skrmetta.

The commission eventually worked out a compromise that even Skrmetta voted for. Regulators agreed to cut the rates by 25 percent for prisoner calls to family, clergy, and government officials. http://theadvocate.com/home/4666375-125/psc-rolls-back-prison-phone

So, what moved Skrmetta to such passion that he would challenge the veracity of an official of the Catholic Church?

Well, for openers, try $29,500.

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So, what moved Skrmetta to such passion that he would challenge the veracity of an official of the Catholic Church?

So, what moved Skrmetta to such passion that he would challenge the veracity of an official of the Catholic Church?

Chairman Skrmetta takes nearly $20K from inmate phone companies, fights church efforts to reduce rates

So, what moved Skrmetta to such passion that he would challenge the veracity of an official of the Catholic Church?

Well, for openers, try $29,500.

That’s how much he has received in campaign contributions since 2009 from six companies and executives of two of the companies that provide inmate telephone services. Two of those, Securus Technologies of Dallas, and City TeleCoin Co. of Bossier City, combined to contribute $12,000 to Skrmetta’s campaign in separate contributions in December of 2013, nine months after the companies were cited by the PSC for charging extra fees in violation of the amended rates of December of 2012.

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