Eric Skrmetta

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Eric Skrmetta
Eric Skrmetta.jpg
Louisiana Public Service Commission District 1
Incumbent
In office
January 1, 2009 - Present
Term ends
December 31, 2020
Years in position 5
PartyRepublican
Leadership
Chair, Louisiana Public Service Commission
2013-present
Compensation
Base salary$130,000
Elections and appointments
Last electionDecember 6, 2014
First electedNovember 4, 2008
Next generalNovember 2020
Campaign $$980,614
Term limitsN/A
Education
High schoolBrother Martin High School
Bachelor'sLouisiana State University (1981)
J.D.Southern University Law School (1985)
OtherLLM, Tulane University Law School (1986)
Personal
BirthdayOctober 1, 1958
Place of birthNew Orleans, Louisiana
ProfessionAttorney
Websites
Office website
Campaign website
Eric Skrmetta campaign logo
Eric Skrmetta (b. October 1, 1958, in New Orleans, Louisiana) is a member of the Louisiana Public Service Commission, representing District 1 since 2009. He sought re-election in 2014. Skrmetta advanced from the November 4 election and defeated challenger Forest Wright in a runoff election on December 6.

Skrmetta was elected by his fellow elected commissioners to serve as chairman in January of 2013, replacing former chair Foster Campbell (D).[1]

Skrmetta earned endorsements from several state organizations for his 2014 campaign, which can be found here. He faced two challengers in his 2014 re-election, as well as scrutiny over an alleged email he sent to the Gulf State Renewable Energies Industry Association seeking support for his campaign. Read more about ethics concerns raised by opponent Forest Wright in the campaign issues section.

Biography

Skrmetta has been a practicing attorney since 1985, and a practicing mediator since 1989. He is active in Republican State Central Committee District 81, along with numerous community, civic and religious organizations.[2]

Education

  • Graduate, Brother Martin High School
  • B.S., Louisiana State University (1981)
  • J.D., Southern University Law School (1985)
  • LLM, Tulane University Law School (1986)

Political career

Louisiana Public Service Commission (2009-present)

Skrmetta has represented District 1 on the Louisiana Public Service Commission since 2009. He was elected commission chairman by the five elected members of the commission in January of 2013.[1]

Presidential preference

2012

See also: Endorsements by state officials of presidential candidates in the 2012 election

Eric Skrmetta endorsed Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. [3]

Elections

2014

See also: Louisiana down ballot state executive elections, 2014

Skrmetta ran for re-election to his seat on the Public Service Commission, representing District 1 in 2014. The election took place November 4, 2014, though Skrmetta and Forest Wright could not win 50 percent of the vote total. Both candidates advanced to a runoff election on December 6, with Skrmetta winning another term in office.

Results

Runoff
Public Services Commissioner of Louisiana, District 1 Runoff, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngEric Skrmetta Incumbent 50.8% 120,032
     Republican Forest Wright 49.2% 116,042
Total Votes 236,074
Election Results via Louisiana Secretary of State. Vote totals above are unofficial and reflect 100% precincts reporting.
Primary
Public Services Commissioner of Louisiana, District 1, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngForest Wright 38.4% 99,515
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngEric Skrmetta Incumbent 37% 95,742
     Republican Allen "Al" Leone 24.6% 63,622
Total Votes 258,879
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.[4]

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."[4][5]

Issues background
Policypedia
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."[6] 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.[7]

  • 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.[8]
  • 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.[7]

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.[9] 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.[10][11]

Endorsements

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.[12] Wright received the endorsement of primary candidate Allen "Al" Leone (R) ahead of the December runoff election.[13]

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:[14][15]

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

2008

Skrmetta won election to Louisiana Public Service Commission District 1 on November 4, 2008.[16]

Louisiana Public Service Commission, District 1, 2008
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngEric Skrmetta 59.8% 222,272
     No Party Affiliation John F. Schwegmann 40.2% 149,227
Total Votes 371,499
Election Results Via: Louisiana Secretary of State

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Skrmetta is available dating back to 2003. Based on available campaign finance records, Skrmetta raised a total of $980,614 during that time period. This information was last updated on July 11, 2013.[17]

Eric Skrmetta's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2011 Louisiana Public Service Commissioner District 1 Not up for election $154,945
2008 Louisiana Public Service Commissioner District 1 Won $397,997
2003 Louisiana State House District 81 Defeated $427,672
Grand Total Raised $980,614

2008

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 Eric Skrmetta's donors each year.[18] Click [show] for more information.


Personal

Skrmetta and his wife, Debbie, have two children.[19]

Recent news

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See also

External links

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References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Nola.com, "Eric Skrmetta elected chairman of Louisiana Public Service Commission," January 31, 2013
  2. Louisiana Public Service Commission, " Commissioner Eric Skrmetta," accessed March 22, 2013
  3. Mitt Romney for President, "Mitt Romney Announces Additional Louisiana Endorsements," March 21, 2012
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Times-Picayune, "Email controversy ensnares Public Service Commission Chair Eric Skrmetta, solar proposal," August 5, 2014
  5. The Advocate, "Solar compromise offered," August 15, 2014
  6. Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, "Glossary," accessed October 22, 2014
  7. 7.0 7.1 Edison Electric Institute, "Straight Talk About Net Metering," September 2013
  8. Solar Energy industries Alliance, "Net Metering," accessed October 22, 2014
  9. Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, "Louisiana Net Metering," October 19, 2014
  10. Entergy, "Net Metering for Renewable Energy Resources," accessed October 22, 2014
  11. Entergy, "About Us," accessed October 22, 2014
  12. The Times-Picayune, "Industry group backs Eric Skrmetta for Public Service Commission," September 15, 2014
  13. The Times-Picayune, "Public Service Commission candidate Forest Wright picks up endorsement from former rival Al Leone," November 10, 2014
  14. The Times-Picayune, "Public Service Commission finally getting interesting: Jeremy Alford," August 26, 2014
  15. Louisiana Secretary of State, "Find Results and Statistics," accessed September 18, 2014
  16. Louisiana Secretary of State, "Results for Election Date: 11/4/2008," accessed March 26, 2013
  17. Follow the Money, "Career fundraising for Eric Skrmetta," accessed July 11, 2013
  18. Follow the Money.org
  19. Facebook, "Commissioner Eric Skrmetta, LPSC," accessed September 22, 2014
Political offices
Preceded by
'
Louisiana Public Service Commission District 1
2009–present
Succeeded by
NA