Entergy sets temporary mid-summer rate hike

Entergy Mississippi Inc. customers will see a temporary rate increase of about 5 percent, beginning with July bills, according to an Entergy press release.

The change is due to an under recovery of fuel costs, mainly because of rising natural gas prices, according to Entergy. Fuel is used to generate electricity and costs are passed through to the customer dollar-for-dollar with no profit to the company, the release stated.

With the temporary increase, the typical residential customer using 1,000 kWh will pay $113.65 beginning with July bills. That’s about $5.57 more than the typical customer paid for the same amount of electricity at the beginning of this year. This amount also includes a small increase related to ad valorem taxes of $.25.

Entergy Mississippi’s residential rates will remain below the national average residential rate of $117.60, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s latest figures.

“The unusually cold winter and high usage led to a sharp increase in natural gas prices, which is a significant driver of our under recovery,” said Haley Fisackerly, Entergy Mississippi president and CEO. “Right now, we have incurred more than $60 million in fuel costs that have not been collected through current rates.”

Entergy Mississippi is requesting a mid-year adjustment to its rates because natural gas prices are projected to remain above the fuel price currently being charged to customers. Natural gas costs rose about 12.5 percent in 2013 and rose some 33 percent in 2012. Even with the rise in price, natural gas is still a very affordable, abundant and efficient fuel source, and prices today remain significantly below record high prices in 2008, the Entergy press release stated.

Entergy Mississippi officials said the company has implemented several measures designed to keep customers’ electricity rates low:

• In 2006, Entergy purchased Attala, a 480-megawatt, natural gas-fired plant, for a very economical price of approximately $88 million. This has resulted in more than $450 million in savings to customers.

• In 2012, the company purchased Hinds, a 450-megawatt natural gas power plant, for less than $250 million. This has resulted in more than $300 million in savings to customers.

• Entergy Mississippi has increased its fuel diversity by adding 148 MW of additional nuclear power over the past 18 months.

Entergy Mississippi, Inc. provides electricity to approximately 441,000 customers in 45 counties. It is a subsidiary of Entergy Corp.