Entergy asks commission to OK general rate increase

Entergy Mississippi Inc. has filed for its first general rate increase in nearly 12 years with the Mississippi Public Service Commission, the company announced in a press release Wednesday afternoon.

The increase is included in Entergy’s overall plan to meet Mississippi’s electric service needs through 2025. The blueprint for the future lays out the company’s plans for improving reliability, modernizing the grid, maintaining its workforce, stabilizing rates, utilizing new technologies and attracting new industry, Entergy officials said.

“Under this plan, we’ll spend the next decade focusing on low rates, more jobs, more choice and smart investments,” said Haley Fisackerly, Entergy Mississippi president and CEO.

The rate increase filing seeks a hike in revenues that would change the monthly bill of a typical residential customer using 1,000 kWh per month by approximately $6.28, or about .20 cents per day.

However, this increase is expected to be significantly offset by the expiration of other charges being billed on a temporary basis, including the recently approved fuel and ad valorem tax increases totaling $5.57.

The net impact on typical customer bills is expected to be less than .75 cents, or less than .03 cents a day, Entergy officials said. Entergy Mississippi is not asking for an increase in its allowed shareholder rate of return on equity.

“We work hard to keep rates low and do not take any rate increase lightly,” said Fisackerly. “With the proposed increase, Entergy Mississippi rates are expected to remain both below the national average and among the lowest residential rates in the state and the Southeast.”

The national average residential rate per 1,000 kWh is $122.60, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s latest figures. Based on expected fuel costs and current projections, Entergy Mississippi’s residential rate in January will be approximately $114.36.

Despite increasing costs from more numerous and stringent federal regulations and flat sales growth since 2008’s economic downturn, Entergy Mississippi has been able to keep rates low through the years by reducing overhead costs and making smart power planning decisions, officials said. The proposed rate case will help Entergy continue this trend.

Items in Entergy’s proposed overall plan include:

• Three 500 KW utility-scale solar power projects

• A green power option for customers

• Distribution and transmission improvements to modernize the grid and reduce outage frequency and length

• Rate incentives to help attract new and expanding industrial customers

• New regulatory mechanisms to aid in providing electrical service to attractive industrial sites. This will help attract economic development and job creation

• Making a two-year discount permanent for eligible, new small businesses.

“Over the last 12 years, we’ve been keeping pace in the midst of a rapidly changing power landscape that includes more stringent and expensive federal regulation,” said Fisackerly.

“Working in partnership with the MPSC, we’ve been successful in managing the higher risks and challenges we’ve faced, and I believe we’ve done what our customers and regulators would want their electric utility to do: make wise decisions to keep costs down now and make prudent investments to keep costs down in the future. This plan will help us continue to do so.”