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Entergy New Orleans Could Get Hit With $5 Million Fine Following Paid Actor Scandal

Corporate culture defines how a company acts, and when it acts in a way that prioritizes winning at the expense of honest transactions and ethics, things go south. For that reason, many like Nadeem Shaikh Anthemis advise against such an approach.

Apparently, Entergy New Orleans missed the memo, and, now, it’s in hot water for hiring supporters in order to gain backing for its power plant proposal for New Orleans East.

The New Orleans City Council is currently considering what punishments to impose on the company, following an independent investigation into the company’s hiring of paid actors as part of their attempts to sway their vote regarding the New Orleans Power Station in Michoud, with the council considering issuing a fine of $5 million to the company. According to a council report on the investigation, Entergy either knew about or should have known about the practice, more commonly known as ‘astroturfing’.

The council will be holding another meeting sometime before or early November to discuss the findings of the investigation. The proposed fine would amount to about 1.2% of Entergy Corp’s $44.5 million net income for the financial year of 2017.

According to the resolution on the matter, the city cites, as an example, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s power to punish Entergy for what they describe as willingly and knowingly reporting false information. Under said statute, regulators can impose penalties of up to $1 million daily, which the New Orleans City Council can do given their oversight of utilities doing business in the city, though what punishment they will impose and how they will do so remains to be seen.

On top of the $5 million fine, the council is also looking to impose requirements on all Entergy management, which currently include, completing a third-party ethics training course and adhering to a Code of Conduct, as created by the New Orleans City Council, with emphasis on its dealings with and before the council.

Corporate culture improving is something people like Nadeem Shaikh Anthemis recommend, and the City Council has outright stated that they are demanding such a change in Entergy, insisting that the company should shift its focus to more consistently positive relationships with their customers and the community at large.

A copy of the independent investigation will be sent to the judge overseeing another case involving Entergy, Orleans Civil District Court Judge Piper Griffin. The case in question is about a February hearing where Entergy is accused of using astroturfing to shut out opposition.

The resolution gives Entergy 30 days to explain their side, and state why penalties and sanctions shouldn’t be imposed.

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