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The Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC) is a constitutionally established regulatory agency dedicated to serving the public interest by assuring safe, reliable and reasonably priced services are provided by the public utilities and common carriers subject to its jurisdiction. As outlined by Article IV, Section 21 of the Louisiana Constitution of 1974, the LPSC consists of five elected Commissioners who serve overlapping six-year terms, as well as central and district office staffs.
The LPSC strives to ensure a regulatory balance that allows regulated utilities and common carriers an opportunity to earn a fair rate of return on their investments while also ensuring customers are provided safe, adequate and reliable service, at rates that are just and reasonable, equitable and economically sound.
LPSC regulates areas of the Motor Carrier, Telecommunications, Electric, Gas, Water and Sewerage, Common Carriers and Pipeline industries.
The numbers listed are from the 2016 election. We are expecting the November 8 election numbers to come in around 300,000. We will need around 150,000 votes to win. Me being a Republican, and from Calcasieu Parish, gives me the perfect opportunity to pull in some really good numbers.
My wife and I, Jessica Foster Latour have six children- Abigail, Aubrey, Triston, Evelyn, Lawton, and Wyatt. We enjoy spending time with family, traveling, and doing anything outdoors. From fishing, riding horses, atv’s, or going out on the water, we like to do it all.
I am a graduate of Iowa High School, and a graduate of Liberty University in business management. I currently hold a Louisiana State Contractor’s License for commercial construction, heavy construction, and waste treatment/disposal systems.
I started my first company 19 years ago working as a transport company in the oil field, and forestry. Since, I have started or have purchased a handful of other companies. These companies include Latour Premier Properties (real estate investing and rentals), Latour Health DBA - Beauregard Medical Supply (working as a DME in the medical supply industry), and Service International of SWLA (industrial transportation and construction). We currently hold a Louisiana Public Service Commission Number for waste transportation along with TDEQ for Texas.
I was a Calcasieu Parish Police Juror for District 10. I won this race on the promise of me doing what is right for the people I represent, and I plan to keep the same integrity if elected as the Public Service Commissioner. I encourage everyone to do your due diligence on how I have represented my district in the past.
When I took office I challenged our roads, drainage, recreation, building codes/ordinances, better spending practices, facilities for our seniors, and have helped to save home owners and businesses hundreds, and in some cases thousands of dollars fighting against harsh government standards.
We had some horrible drainage issues that I fought alongside with the city, parish, and drainage boards to figure out the best way of tackling these issues. With our conjoined efforts of the boards I represented, we have built play grounds, ball fields, large pavilions, and many other things all for the betterment of our community.
To be able to achieve the things I would like to accomplish, we must first look at the biggest issues the PSC is facing today in the eyes of the people they represent. High utility bills are at the top of the list, to the point where some unfortunate families are having to choose between what life necessities have to come first, such as electricity or food. The high fuel surcharges, varies fees, and storm restoration fees, have us all scratching our heads. To add to this, people feel as though they do not have a voice, especially after they watch their current elected PSC congratulate the electric company on a job well done.
To know where we are going, let’s go back to the events that brought us to today. Before we had securitization, utility companies used rainy day funds in the event of catastrophic disasters such as hurricanes. This worked until we had multiple hurricanes that no utility company could sustain the amount of losses, due to the cost of replacing their infrastructure.
So, moving forward to securitization. This was established to get instant cash by ways of bonds procured by the PSC and paid out within a 7–15-year window. This version works well for the utility companies, but not the consumer who ends up paying all of the storm recovery fees. Then with the multiple storms that Louisiana has had, the consumer is paying on multiple storm fees.
With securitization there is zero liability for the utility companies. Basically, we can have 100 storms and the utility companies will have to pay zero dollars. If you are like me when you read this, you think, “well this isn’t fair”. We become outraged that the stockholders have all of the benefits with zero liability, not to mention some for-profit utility companies in Louisiana are ranked in the top of the list for dividends paid to investors in the fortune 500.
So, we know something isn’t right, how do we fix it? We have all heard the current PSC officials say, “well that’s the law”, and “it is what it is”, basically just suck it up. Me... on the other hand, I think outside of the box. I wonder who, when, and how to amend this version of the law that is completely one sided. This is what is called stagnation by the political elites; basically, don’t rock the boat that keeps you in office.
I plan on sitting down with our local legislative body to work up a way to rewrite securitization, so the liability is spread out to everyone, not just the consumer. This will be argued by for-profit utility companies with a mindset that thinks "sharing the liability will be hurting our standing in the public sector!". However, as is it now stands, the PSC has to guarantee x amount of profit no matter how top heavy the "for-profit utility companies" are on corporate overhead.
I know that some of the PSC’s besides our current District 4 representative, have been on the utility companies to diversify their electric portfolio. I will use Entergy as an example. They are currently 70% natural gas. Gas prices go up, and consumer bills can increase 40 % overnight. Granted, this is a no profit for the utility companies. It is what you call a pass-through item.
With a fuel surcharge, what incentive does a utility company with a monopoly on a state such as Louisiana have to diversify? The answer is zero. You, the consumer, will have to pay no matter what. This does not affect any utility companies bottom line.
With this being said, we need to look into more renewable energy, so the price of gas does not cause the cost of electric to fluctuate so much. We need to look into deregulation, not necessarily full deregulation, but some form of hybrid where the PSC can still have input. This will give the market fair competition for competitive pricing.
Like some of our co-ops that are taking advantage of using 1803 (receiving electricity from outside sources), we need to look at options that don't limit or confine our local electric supplies and output ability. These co-ops are seeing sizable electric cost reduction.
Another item that is being questioned is: why are for-profit utility companies not getting FEMA assistance for storm restoration? From the outsider looking in, one would think that they shouldn’t get FEMA assistance because they make money off of your electric. Yet, when you read and better understand the laws that were crafted for the utility companies benefit, the only person that is hurt is the CONSUMER ( if FEMA does not help offset storm recovery for "for-profit utility companies"). These are several different topics that I plan on addressing when elected to help with level and affordable billing for the people I represent.
Another big topic is telecommunications. There are a lot of companies charging for internet on a set amount and cannot provide the adequate speed, but are charging their customers the same amount of money. This has been questioned to the PSC and in the legislature, yet no one knows who is responsible. The PSC should be over all telecommunications, so I will be in talks with our local delegation to write into law who indeed is the regulatory agency on this topic. Rightfully so, it should be under the PSC.
I have only touched on a few areas under the PSC, but I will be looking into every aspect of the PSC. If any other changes need to be made, I will work with my counterparts to figure out the best path. I humbly ask that you thoughtfully and prayerfully consider me as your next Public Service Commissioner.
I believe one of my greatest assets is bringing people together in achieving goals that will better our community. Being a leader is not just demanding things, but working alongside your delegation and going the extra mile. When people see how hard you work, they work harder, and together you can bridge the gaps that at times hinders government. I am exactly what you need as your Public Service Commissioner for District 4. Our Country and State is so divided and tarnished by egos and party stamps that have lost sight of what government was built on. “In God we trust” will always be my foundation, and in that, I will always do my absolute best in making decisions with your better interests at heart.
In closing, I would love to say I will do everything perfect, but I cannot, because perfection doesn’t exist. What I can do is promise this; I will always try my hardest to make decisions based on what is right by my conservative values and for the majority of my constituents. If there are any major decisions that will affect the masses, I plan to hold public meetings for discussion. This will keep you informed along with hearing public input on pros and cons. I have been available 24/7 for my past position and will remain 24/7 for you if elected. If anyone would like to talk or email, I can be reached at 337-884-8662 or Shalon@shalonlatour.com
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