JACKSON, Miss. (Legal Newsline) - Entergy Corp. says Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood should have contacted them before putting out a press release that questioned a transfer of $1.3 billion to the company's nuclear power wing.
Hood issued the press release Friday, two days after the Vermont Senate voted against renewing the company's Vermont nuclear plant for another 20 years. The release featured three questions about the transfer to which Hood demanded answers.
"Our actions have been proper and in compliance with applicable federal income tax law," Entergy Mississippi spokesman Joey Lee said.
"We are confident that had the attorney general contacted Entergy directly, we would have been able to answer his questions."
Hood has filed a lawsuit against the company, claiming that Entergy Mississippi is buying gas at an inflated cost from the other Entergy companies and driving prices up for Mississippi consumers.
Entergy called Hood's civil investigative demands a "fishing expedition" and feels the Attorney General's Office has no business investigating utilities.
Hood has issued press releases during his dispute with the company that didn't always pertain to his charges.
A November release brought an audit by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission into the spotlight, and an April release made news of the millions of dollars Entergy spent on executive bonuses.
"This is just another in a long line of press releases issued by the attorney general making an attempt to tie unrelated items together in order to confuse Mississippi customers," Lee said.
Hood's Friday release demanded answers to three questions:
-What is the source of the $1.3 billion cash payment from Entergy Corp. and its regulated utilities such as Entergy Mississippi to its nuclear program?;
-What is the intended purpose for the 2009 infusion of $1.3 billion in cash from Entergy Corp. to its nuclear operations?; and
-Does Entergy Corp. plan to use any portion of the $1.3 billion to pay for the decommissioning of its malfunctioning nuclear plants, and, if so, which ones?
"The ratepayers of Mississippi-and the rest of those inside Entergy's service area - have a right to know where their hard-earned money is going, and what it is being used for," Hood said.
Lee said everything the company is doing is legal.
"We encourage Attorney General Hood to closely review our financial disclosures that are filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as legally required of publicly traded companies," he said.
From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at email@example.com.