JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - A federal judge says he will likely send claims that a Mississippi utility overcharged its customers back to state court.
U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves on Thursday told lawyers that he'll issue a written ruling on returning the case to Hinds County Chancery Court by Friday.
That's where Attorney General Jim Hood first sued Entergy Mississippi in 2008. Hood repeatedly asked a previous judge to return the case to state court, but now argues it should stay in federal court. The unit of New Orleans-based Entergy Corp. also wants to stay in federal court.
Reeves started a trial on Monday, with Hood arguing Entergy owes up to $2 billion in damages and interest to 447,000 Mississippi customers. But Reeves began questioning his jurisdiction to hear the case after opening arguments.
Entergy Mississippi released the following statement:
While we respect Judge Reeves’ decision, we believe that the Attorney General’s long-running, decade-old case against Entergy, if heard by any court, should be heard in federal court – and the Attorney General agreed with that on Thursday. We continue to believe that this subject matter is best handled by a regulatory body like the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or the Mississippi Public Service Commission. As the past few days in Judge Reeves’ court have shown, issues concerning utility rates and multi-state power purchases are very complicated and require specialized expertise. Although the Federal Court ultimately determined it did not have authority to decide where this case should be heard, we are confident the Chancery Court will carefully consider where this case should be heard.
It is important to remember that our rates are among the lowest in the country and numerous audits of our fuel costs have affirmed that we treat our customers fairly. Entergy looks forward to the opportunity to defend its record and the record of our nearly 4,000 employees and retirees across Mississippi.