State lawmakers grill Suddenlink executives on response to Hurricane Laura

State legislators grill Suddenlink executives on response to Hurricane Laura

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - State lawmakers grilled executives with Suddenlink on the company’s response in the wake of Hurricane Laura.

Suddenlink executives appeared before the state Joint Commerce Committee during a more than three hours Friday.

Despite claims by Suddenlink that they were doing their best, it was rough going for the company officials who went before the joint committee meeting called by Senator Ronnie Johns.

“I’ve been through a lot of hurricanes, I’ve watched how the industries operate. Entergy came in with 12,000 people. They’ve still got 9,000 there. I’m not quite sure if you can do your job with 450 people.”

Some lawmakers appeared particularly frustrated because they wanted the top brass, who did not attend.

Representative Tanner Magee from Houma made it clear he didn’t feel he was getting straight answers.

“What I want to know is, is there a concrete plan to bring within the next few weeks, preferably within the next couple of days, a communications center to Louisiana on the ground.”

“I feel like that’s very much in discussion,” said Brad Ayers of Suddenlink.

Magee wasn’t much of a fan of what Ayers had to say.

“I don’t want what you feel like, I want to know is there. There’s a difference.”

Magee really wanted to hear from Suddelink’s CEO.

“I don’t think you were very informative, I don’t think you showed any real concern for what is an obvious problem, and I am very disappointed, to be honest with you, that we did not get more information, that you didn’t come here with more ability and authority to talk about things.”

State Senator Mark Abraham was amazed that still no word was given on when most people will be restored.

“Having 11 percent restored after 18 days is really a failing grade. I mean, that doesn’t even get average to me,” Abraham said. “So, that again is what we’re dealing with, and we don’t have a concrete plan exactly what you’re going to do and you still are not able to tell us. When are the majority of the residents going to be restored.”

Public Service Commissioner Mike Francis says he’d be happy to see suddenlink regulated by the PSC.

“If you’ll give this job to the Louisiana Public Service Commission, let the folks of Louisiana regulate it. I promise you those five commissioners will deliver the service to you, just like we did with electricity.”

Discussions will continue next week as lawmakers have been told Suddenlink’s CEO will visit in the next week.

Johns says he understands customers without service will receive a credit on their next bill, and he says they will be pushing for that.

Watch the hearing here.

Suddenlink executives appear before Joint Commerce Committee on Laura response - first hour
Suddenlink executives appear before Joint Commerce Committee on Laura response - second hour
Suddenlink executives appear before Joint Commerce Committee on Laura response - third hour

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