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Foster Campbell

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Foster Campbell
Foster Campbell.jpg
Louisiana Public Service Commission District 5
In office
January 1, 2003 - Present
Term ends
January 2021
Years in position 12
Chair, Louisiana Public Service Commission
Base salary$130,000
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2014
First elected2002
Campaign $$2,467,283
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Louisiana State Senate
High schoolBossier High School
Bachelor'sNorthwestern State University
Date of birthJanuary 6, 1947
Place of birthShreveport, Louisiana
Office website
Personal website
Foster Campbell (b. January 6, 1947, in Shreveport, LA) is a member of the Louisiana Public Service Commission, representing District 5.[1] He began serving in this position on January 1, 2003, after a narrow victory in the 2002 election. He easily won re-election to a second six-year term on the board in 2008.

Campbell sought re-election to a third term on the five-member commission against Republican challenger Keith Gates in the 2014 elections.[2] Foster Campbell won the general election on November 4, 2014.

Campbell served as commission chairman from 2012-2013, when the board elected Republican Eric Skrmetta to take over the leadership role.[3]


Campbell worked as a schoolteacher and agricultural products salesman from 1972 to 1975. In 1976 he started his own business, the Campbell Insurance Agency, Inc. Cambell served in the Louisiana State Senate from 1976 to 2002. He joined the LPSC in 2003 and has served on that body since.[1]


  • Graduated, Bossier High School
  • Graduated, Northwestern State University
  • Attended, Louisiana State University

Political career

Louisiana Public Service Commission (2003-present)

Campbell has served District 5 on the Louisiana Public Service Commission since 2003. He was Chair from 2012-2013.

Louisiana State Senate (1976-2002)

Campbell was a member of the Louisiana State Senate from 1976 through 2002.



See also: Louisiana down ballot state executive elections, 2014

Campbell ran for re-election as Louisiana Public Service Commissioner representing District 5 in 2014.[4] The general election took place November 4, 2014.


Public Services Commissioner of Louisiana, District 5, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngFoster Campbell Incumbent 61.5% 169,098
     Republican Keith Gates 38.5% 105,918
Total Votes 275,016
Election Results via Louisiana Secretary of State.

Race background

Ethics concerns for Skrmetta

Eric Skrmetta (R) attracted attention and challengers for his November re-election bid after ethics concerns emerged in early August. The Times-Picayune published a report on August 5, 2014, detailing an email exchange between the commissioner and Andrew B. Ezell from the Gulf State Renewable Energies Industry Association. This exchange reportedly included a request by Skrmetta for the organization's support ahead of the November election in exchange for his vote in support of more lenient metering policies in Louisiana. Ezell sent the request to members of the association on August 2, only four days prior to commission hearings about lifting the state's limit on payments to consumers using solar panels.[5]

Skrmetta denied wrongdoing or an exchange of favors with solar energy firms following the paper's report. He noted in The Times-Picayune that the commission needed to review metering policy due to concerns about the potential bankruptcy of an unnamed solar firm based in the state. He faced scrutiny from challenger Forest Wright (R) and fellow commissioner Foster Campbell (D), though ultimately won re-election in the December runoff.

Wright, an energy policy advocate based in New Orleans, cited Skrmetta's email as a motivation for his 2014 campaign. Wright and Skrmetta supported lighter regulations on solar installation firms, though Wright was concerned about the alleged quid pro quo involved in Skrmetta's email. He previously sought the District 2 seat on the board in 2012. Campbell, who won re-election to the District 5 seat, was vocal in opposing changes to existing metering policy and alleged that Skrmetta's behavior was "borderline illegal."[5][6]

Issues background
Policypedia Energy logo.jpg
Policy and Elections
Energy policy was a major issue in Louisiana. Find out more about Louisiana Energy policy.
Net metering

Net metering is a billing system where customers who generate their own electricity, usually using renewable sources, such as solar panels, are able to sell their excess electricity back to the grid. This requires electricity to be able to flow both to and from the consumer. According to the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency "net metering is required by law in most U.S. states, but state policies vary widely."[7] While many energy experts support net metering, there is debate over the price at which those generating excess power should be compensated. In some states, consumers are compensated at the full retail rate, while other states compensate individual producers at the wholesale rate. Retail electricity rates are the final prices paid by consumers and include the all the costs of that electricity, from generation to delivery. Wholesale electricity rates "include the cost of the fuel used to generate electricity and the cost of buying the power," but do not include the costs of transporting or delivering electricity.[8]

  • Proponents of net metering argue the system is beneficial because it promotes renewable energy and incentivizes consumers to produce their own electricity, which they argue is more efficient. Consumers are often drawn to this program because they can save money by generating their own electricity (as opposed to buying it from a utility company), and they can even receive credit back on their electricity bill for the excess electricity they generated.[9]
  • Opponents of net metering argue that customers who sell their electricity back to the grid at the full electricity price are not paying for the fixed costs associated with power generation, such as wires, poles, meters and other infrastructure. According to these opponents, consumers producing their own energy are often still using power supplied by a utility company when their own generation isn't sufficient. For example, on cloudy days those with solar panels must rely on the grid system for electricity. Instead, opponents argue that consumers should be paid the wholesale price for electricity.[8]

In Louisiana, the commercial, residential and agricultural sectors can take advantage of net metering for solar, wind, biomass, hydroelectric, small hydroelectric, renewable fuel cells, geothermal electric and microturbines. Utilities in Louisiana pay the full retail rate for electricity generated from net metering, but once net metering purchases exceed 0.5 percent of a utility's retail peak load they no longer have to offer net metering.[10] Entergy, which serves approximately 1.07 million electric customers in Louisiana, had already reached 75 percent of its 0.5 percent cap on net metering purchases by February 28, 2014.[11][12]


Skrmetta earned the endorsements of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, the state Republican Party and the Louisiana Sheriff's Organization prior to the November election.[13] Wright received the endorsement of primary candidate Allen "Al" Leone (R) ahead of the December runoff election.[14]

Commission as launching pad

The Louisiana Public Service Commission has served as a stepping stone to higher office in Louisiana. The following chart details past commissioners who eventually won election to the governor's office:[15][16]

Former commissioners who became governors
Name Party Commission service Gubernatorial service
Huey Long Electiondot.png Democratic 1918-1928 1928-1932
Jimmie Davis Electiondot.png Democratic 1942-1944 1944-1948, 1960-1964
John McKeithen Electiondot.png Democratic 1955-1964 1964-1972
Kathleen Blanco Electiondot.png Democratic 1989-1996 2004-2008


Campbell won re-election to Louisiana Public Service Commission District 5 on October 4, 2008.[17]

Louisiana Public Service Commission, District 5, 2008
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngFoster Campbell Incumbent 78.1% 120,805
     No party affiliation James "Jim" Crowley 21.9% 33,916
Total Votes 154,721
Election Results via Louisiana Secretary of State


Louisiana Public Service Commission, District 5, 2002
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngFoster Campbell 50.7% 123,749
     Democratic Don Owen 49.3% 120,413
Total Votes 244,162
Election Results via Louisiana Secretary of State

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Campbell is available dating back to 1999. Based on available campaign finance records, Campbell raised a total of $2,467,283 during that time period. This information was last updated on July 11, 2013.[18]

Foster Campbell's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2011 Louisiana Public Service Commissioner District 5 Not up for election $172,618
2008 Louisiana Public Service Commissioner District 5 Won $323,230
2007 Governor of Louisiana Defeated $1,706,621
2002 Louisiana Public Service Commissioner District 5 Won $0
1999 Louisiana State Senate District 36 Won $264,814
Grand Total Raised $2,467,283


Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Foster Campbell's donors each year.[19] Click [show] for more information.

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See also

External links

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  1. 1.0 1.1 Louisiana Public Service Commission, "Commissioner District 5," accessed March 6, 2013
  2. Louisiana Secretary of State, "2014 General Election Candidate List," accessed October 24, 2014
  3., "Eric Skrmetta elected chairman of Louisiana Public Service Commission," January 31, 2013
  4. E-mail communication with Kristen Mathews, June 2, 2014
  5. 5.0 5.1 The Times-Picayune, "Email controversy ensnares Public Service Commission Chair Eric Skrmetta, solar proposal," August 5, 2014
  6. The Advocate, "Solar compromise offered," August 15, 2014
  7. Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, "Glossary," accessed October 22, 2014
  8. 8.0 8.1 Edison Electric Institute, "Straight Talk About Net Metering," September 2013
  9. Solar Energy industries Alliance, "Net Metering," accessed October 22, 2014
  10. Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, "Louisiana Net Metering," October 19, 2014
  11. Entergy, "Net Metering for Renewable Energy Resources," accessed October 22, 2014
  12. Entergy, "About Us," accessed October 22, 2014
  13. The Times-Picayune, "Industry group backs Eric Skrmetta for Public Service Commission," September 15, 2014
  14. The Times-Picayune, "Public Service Commission candidate Forest Wright picks up endorsement from former rival Al Leone," November 10, 2014
  15. The Times-Picayune, "Public Service Commission finally getting interesting: Jeremy Alford," August 26, 2014
  16. Louisiana Secretary of State, "Find Results and Statistics," accessed September 18, 2014
  17. Louisiana Secretary of State, "Results for Election Date: 10/4/2008," accessed March 28, 2013
  18. Follow the Money, "Career fundraising for Foster Campbell," accessed July 11, 2013
  19. Follow the, "Home," accessed February 17, 2015
Political offices
Preceded by
Louisiana Public Service Commission District 5
Succeeded by