NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Entergy is staying mum after a class action lawsuit was filed in the wake of Hurricane Ida.
The storm left nearly one million people in the dark, but several attorneys believe Entergy failed to protect its system.
So far, 17 Entergy customers are suing, but more are expected to join. The class action accuses the company of “grossly inadequate maintenance and lying to the city, the state and its customers.”
“If you’re going to make money off of this city, you damn sure better give the deliverables,” said Attorney Juan Lafonta.
Lafonta is one of several attorneys who filed suit. He says Entergy “chose profits over the people they serve.”
The group of attorneys believe the utility company created a system that failed because of gross negligence of its equipment.
Lafonta said, “How do you rebuild a city if you have contracts that are supposed to give you deliverables, but they’re not meeting the standards that they’re supposed to have?”
The suit maintains that Entergy did not invest money from its customers to “harden the system” by burying utilities or by making sure there were proper backup systems. During the storm, an Entergy transmission tower collapsed and seven other transmission towers also failed.
“Where we’re located, they were not supposed to come down with that type of wind gusts,” Lafonta said. “You have almost a half-a-billion dollars and you’re telling me that this rusted system is robust and the rate payers of New Orleans should continue to pay for you to make those kinds of profits without any accountability? That’s not going to happen.”
Lafonta said in part that Entergy needs to be held accountable for uninhabitable homes, mold and mildew as well as the wrongful death of at least ten people because of the power outage.
“I’m tired of the days in New Orleans of, ‘oh, yeah, I’m used to not having, or we’re used to not being able to access the system, or holding people accountable.’ It’s time people are held accountable because it is affecting lives,” Lafonta said.
We reached out to Entergy multiple times, but have not heard back.