Bill Would Speed up Request from Ark. Wholesaler

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A bill that would speed up the process by which Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Corp. could raise its rates is making its way through the state Legislature. The Senate passed the bill and a House committee recommended the measure to the full House last week.

The cooperative says it needs to raise rates for its 440,000 customers across Arkansas to help cover its share of the $1.6 billion John W. Turk Jr. coal-fired power plant, now under construction in southwest Arkansas, and to pay for environmental upgrades at two other plants.

Currently, preparing a rate-increase request can take almost a year and the Arkansas Public Service Commission has 10 months to act. The bill would eliminate the need for a new cost-of-service study and give the commission 90 days to act.

If passed by the Legislature, the measure would go into effect immediately after the governor signs the bill.

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