Electric utility in Arkansas seeks rate increase
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The largest electric utility in Arkansas is seeking approval from the Arkansas Public Service Commission to raise its rates next year.
Entergy Arkansas wants to up its rates by 3.75 percent, meaning a residential customer currently paying a $100 monthly bill would see a new monthly bill of $103.75, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. The electric utility has about 715,000 customers in 63 counties.
The increase for industrial users will be about 3.72 percent, said John Bethel, executive director of the commission’s general staff.
Entergy submitted the new rates request with the commission in April under a more streamlined annual filing process that was approved by the Legislature.
The commission approved a 3.38 percent increase for Entergy last year. Those rates were charged at the beginning of this year.
Bethel said the commission is expected to make a decision on the new rate-increase request by Dec. 13. If approved, the changes would go into effect on Jan. 2.
Richard Riley, president of the electric utility, told commissioners during a hearing Wednesday that Entergy Arkansas was spending the money needed to continue operations at Arkansas Nuclear One. A 2013 industrial accident at the nuclear plant near Russellville killed one worker and injured eight other people.
“For the next four or five years, we’ll have a heightened level of spending at (Arkansas Nuclear One),” Riley said. “After that it will level off some. The new level of spend might be different than the old level of spend. A good example is the hiring of additional staff. We would hope to keep that level of staff going forward, which would result in a bit higher expense than in 2010 or 2012.”
Portions of Entergy’s expenses wouldn’t be covered under the current rate case. Future requests could include the costs associated with the accident on March 31, 2013, when a 1 million-pound generator stator fell 30 feet while it was being moved. The crashing stator dislodged beams, which struck and killed a worker.
Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com