Thursday, October 12, 2006

Finally, an Answer

Well, sorta. For weeks I've been wondering how Entergy New Orleans' damage claims have gone from $718M down to $592M. Since $320M of the earlier $718M was for lost revenue and $398M was for physical damage, I had the feeling that new number was actually a higher estimate. Finally, we get some information that makes everything...something:
Of Entergy's $592 million request, $355 million is to repair the gas system alone...

Entergy needs $271 million for work it's already completed to restore the electric and gas system -- which the $200 million LRA money will likely directly offset. The company is also asking for $194 million for unrecovered fixed costs, or costs that it won't be able to pay for with a reduced customer base, and $22 million for customer accounts that it had to write off following Hurricane Katrina. The total amount the company is seeking surpasses $842 million, but Entergy is banking on receiving $250 million in insurance proceeds, bringing the total request to $592 million.

Sounds like they've shuffled some numbers and come up with a new term for lost revenue. Maybe the city should get rid of some lawyers and bring in some accountants.

On a personal note, the fact that my rent includes utilities makes the matter more worrisome than it otherwise would be. A single guy can cut back on usage pretty easily,especially in the Summer. If the rent goes up, I might not be able to stay in town to vote against the seven dwarves any chance that I get. Anyone that would dismiss my upcoming post about the city pay raises as a purely personal, angry rant should consider a few facts. The mayor has been unduly secretive about city finances. He apparently proposed the across the board pay raise to prove a point to the firefighters' union. The cost estimates were based on figures that were, at best, incomplete. The City Council budget Committee discussed the issue with the mayor's CAO for all of ninety minutes. The full City Council passed it unanimously, without discussion. Apparently, nobody on the council took the opportunity to question the mayor more closely about the city's finances. And the council has yet to see the mayor's proposed 2007 budget. Even if I supported the raises, even if I benefited from the raises, that would worry me.

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