Public comment as delivered to the Lafayette City-Parish Council on 21FEB17
Thank-you or this opportunity to address the council today. My name is Dennis G. Sullivan, a retired petroleum well log analyst, and a rate paying Lafayette Utility System (LUS) customer.
A number of years ago members of the League of Women Voters and the Acadian Group of the Sierra Cub embarked on a number of public forum events under the name Powering Lafayette’s Electrical Future. These events were an attempt to start to understand the operation of our publicly owned Lafayette Utility System. We had hoped this effort might lead us toward true citizen input and increased cooperation in the guidance of LUS policy and expenditures. What did, however, not happen was the establishment of a viable pathway of seeing public input guaranteed in the running of LUS. Without this public input I would cite the following as disappointments in the operations of our publicly owned utility:
- Persistence with coal as a choice of fuel for the generation of LUS power. The fact that a city built in part on the petroleum industry would continue to ship coal from Wyoming instead of using clean burning natural gas constitutes an inexplicable prejudice that will continue to be more and more costly to LUS consumers as the expenses related of this dirtiest of fuels grow. The fact that Morgan City beat us to having a combined cycle gas powered generation system should be cause for embarrassment.
- That LUS can market its city’s forward vision on its fiber internet connections (talk of Silicone on the Bayou) while completely ignoring the bad press generated by a coal based electrical power generation system is evidence of heads stuck far further into the sand than I would expect of a LUS system established, in the late nineteenth century, on such incredible vision for the future potential of our city.
- That fact that Lafayette would choose to keep all its eggs in a coal basket with the incredibly dynamic market for cheaper wind and solar power available on the grid doesn’t help us look like a progressive city to potential investors from outside the area. Call it Public Relations if you must but expand our electrical power supply sources to prove we realize there are indeed economically viable, non-polluting, alternative energy sources in this, the 21st , century.
So I challenge you members of the council to establish a pathway for citizens of this city to have viable input into the decisions being made in the running of our Lafayette Utility System. Liberate your rate-paying LUS customers from the dark hole of utility ignorance into which they have been forced by actively fostering a more active role for them in the running of their public utility system.
Dennis G. Sullivan