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LA regulators close review of LUS/LUS Fiber charges

Public Service Commission says no further action will be taken
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Posted at 4:37 PM, Dec 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-16 17:37:46-05

LAFAYETTE, La. — The Louisiana Public Service Commission has ended its review of the irregular transactions made between the Lafayette Utilities System and LUS Fiber that were the focus of a December 2019 internal investigation, and determined that no further action will be taken.

The PSC heard a staff report during its last regular meeting of the year on Wednesday regarding an update on LUS and LUS Fiber.

Last year, former Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux conducted an internal review of LUS and reported to the council that former LUS Director Terry Huval was involved in a potentially illegal pricing scheme for services provided to LUS from LUS Fiber.

Robideaux presented his findings from his internal investigation of LUS and LUS Fiber at the beginning of the final meeting of the Lafayette City-Parish Council meeting on Dec. 18, 2019.

He reported that LUS Fiber ran at a loss from 2008 to 2015 when accounting for costs for affiliates - entities within the Lafayette Consolidated Government that use LUS Fiber - and non-affiliates, or private entities that use LUS Fiber.

According to Robideaux, LUS had loaned LUS Fiber a total of $27.7 million in an unusual and seemingly redundant business model that allowed LUS Fiber to split off from LUS, but still required it to pay out an open-ended lease to LUS in order for LUS Fiber to build out its residential network.

According to a PSC spokesperson, the staff were directed during their Feb. 19 business and executive session to review the information submitted to the PSC by LUS on Dec. 27, 2019.

Staff then issued data requests and reviewed the responses submitted by LUS, which included a forensic examination report.

During Wednesday’s meeting, and based on its review, the PSC staff recommended that no further action be taken by the commission on the Dec. 27, 2019 filing.

However, the staff did recommend that the commission direct LUS to respond to its audit report that was filed on June 4, 2019 so the docket could be closed, the spokesperson said.

That audit report dealt with different issues than those in the Dec. 27, 2019 filing. The PSC directed its staff to send a request to LUS to respond to the 2019 audit report.

In February, LCG announced it was working with 15th Judicial District Attorney Keith Stutes to hand over documents relating to its internal investigations into LUS, LUS Fiber and any former or present employees.

However, the district attorney found no evidence that former Huval broke any laws.

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