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Public Service Commission looks to keep energy customers informed


In the wake of the power outages that recently plagued portions of the state, the Louisiana Public Service commission will consider implementing a new system for power companies to better keep the public informed when outages occur. 
 


 
Commissioner Foster Campbell explains.
 
"I want them to text or telephone all these customers and say, 'We know you're out of power, you don't have to call us.  We know you're out of power.  Here's where we are and we will keep you updated.'"
 
The system would send automated telephone and text messages to customers when outages occur.  He says Entergy power companies have already implemented such a system.  Campbell says he'll ask all electric utilities regulated by the Public Service Commission to do likewise.
 
"This is the 21st century.  Let's get innovative, here.  You know, if you can do it by computer or you can do it by text or you can do it by telephone.  Whatever you got to do it by, come on, tell the people what they can expect."
 
The topic will be discussed at the PSC's August 6th meeting in Baton Rouge.  He says storms and power outages are a reality in Louisiana and with modern forms of communication, power companies can easily tell customers what they need to know quickly.  Campbell says this system would ease a lot of customers frustrations during an outage.
 
"They call my office and my lines are busy.  They call the SWEPCO office and their lines are clogged up.  We need to be proactive in calling these people and say, 'Look, we know that you're out of electricity.  Here's what you can expect.  And we will be back if there are any other changes.'  That's the least we can do and I'm going to get that done."
 
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Louisiana reports its first West Nile virus death of 2014


State health officials say a man from Caddo Parish has died from the West Nile Virus. The department of health and hospitals is not providing many details about the victim, citing confidentiality rules, but they can say the individual was between 60 and 74 years. State Epidemiologist Raoult Ratard says this is a reminder West Nile can be fatal.

"Usually when the virus attacks the brain, 10% of the people die from it," Ratard said. 
 
This is the first fatality of the year from West Nile Virus. Ratard says they've only recorded nine total cases this year, but the season is just starting.
 
"We expect cases to last until November, maybe early December."
 
Ratard says take precautions to keep mosquitoes out of your house, our of your yard and off your skin. 
 
"So you either protect your skin with long pants and long sleeves or you wear mosquito repellent."
 
 

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LSU Health Sciences Center participating in new treatment for lung cancer


The LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans is offering a possible break through treatment for those diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. Eileen Mederos is the program manager of the clinical trial and she says participants will receive a personalized medicine approach based upon the genetic makeup of their cancers.


"This maybe a better way to treat cancer as opposed to a blanketed approach, because not everyone responds to the same drug." 
 
Mederos says LSU Health Sciences Center is one of a just a few sites in the country to offer this new way of treating of lung cancer. She says it's a targeted therapy based on the genetic changes fueling the growth of the tumor. 
 
"They would receive treatment based off of the genetic testing."
 
Mederos says they are partnering with Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, which has several locations in Southeast Louisiana to offer this cutting edge treatment. She lung cancer patients can call the LSU Health Sciences Center to participate in the clinical trial. 
 
"Eventually it will be offered across the country, but for now we are one of the first five sites." 
 
For more information call Eileen Mederos at (504) 407-7395
 

 
 

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