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Wednesday, September 28, 2005 

Who Does Mike Beebe Really Represent? You Decide The Truth...

One of the duties of the Attorney General is to represent the consumers of the State of Arkansas in natural gas, electric, and telecommunication rate cases. Now, if John Doe is the consumer, Mike Beebe should be defending John Doe in a court of law. In a traditional judicial setting, your defense attorney should not be cozy with those on the other side.

Here is a copy of the actual Arkansas statute regarding the role of the Attorney General in regards to consumer utility rates:

23-4-303. Office created
There is created within the Office of the Attorney General a Consumer Utilities Rate Advocacy Division.

23-4-305. Functions; powers and duties
The Consumer Utilities Rate Advocacy Division shall represent the state, its subdivisions, and all classes of Arkansas utility rate payers and shall have the following functions, powers, and duties:
(1) To provide effective and aggressive representation for the people of Arkansas in hearings before the Arkansas Public Service Commission and other state and federal courts or agencies concerning utility-related matters;
(2) To disseminate information to all classes of rate payers concerning pertinent energy-related concepts; and
(3) To advocate the holding of utility rates to the lowest reasonable level.

Consider this for a moment-- Currently, there are at least 4 pending rate cases (1 electric and 3 natural gas) before the Attorney General. Those entities asking for rate increases are Entergy, Arkla-Centerpoint, Arkansas Western Gas, and Arkansas Oklahoma Gas. Bear in mind, the Attorney General is to defend John Doe, the consumer not represent the entities asking for rate increases.

Environmental Circumstances to consider:
Natural gas prices are increasing exponentially due to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. This will be passed on to the consumer unless the states hired Defense Attorney stops these entities. Arkla-Centerpoint alone has more than 430,000 Arkansas customers and has asked for a $34 million increase! This is almost an $80 increase per customer. Defense Attorney, please help!

Entergy has also asked for a rate increase equivalent to $5.35 per month to the average ratepayer, or an increase from $87 to $95 per month.

Mike Beebe’s Response:
Attorney General puts utilities on notice about rate hikes, high gas bills (By Wesley Brown, Arkansas News Bureau Tuesday, Sep 20, 2005).
"My office is dedicated to protecting the rights of Arkansas consumers and ratepayers and will be vigilant in assuring that increases are kept to a minimum," Beebe said.

Now The Evidence:

Campaign Contribution to Mike Beebe for Governor-- the consumer’s defense attorney:

Arkansas Oklahoma Gas: $3,000.00
Other Oil and Gas Distributors: $11,700.00

Entergy: $3,000.00 including Mike Mauldin, Director of Governmental Affairs

Natural Gas and Utility Legal Fund:
Total Money Contributed to Mike Beebe to hinder his defense for the consumer: $17,700

Mike Beebe is also to defend the consumer in rate cases for telecommunications entities: If Mike Beebe were to defend the consumers of this state against, let’s say, Alltel.
Alltel: $18,150.00

Consumers would have to contribute $18,150 to match what Alltel Executives have given to the Mike Beebe for Governor Campaign. Alltel must have a rate increase in the works.

Mike Beebe is also to defend the consumer in rate increases of rural telephone service providers. The consumers would have to pay $7,600 to match what rural telephone service providers (i.e., North Arkansas Telephone Company) have contributed to the Mike Beebe for Governor Campaign.
Rural Telephone Service Providers: $7,600

How would the people of Arkansas feel if they knew their paid defense attorney – the guy who is to argue their case before judge and jury against the entities he regulates—has accepted $43,450 in a 3 month period? Huh? I guess we are learning The Truth about Mike Beebe!

It will be interesting to see just how much money Mike Beebe accepted from the same interested special interests while he was running for Attorney General.....Stay tuned....this is developing....

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