PSC Examining Entergy Rate Hikes in Arkansas

OCTOBER 13, 2006 - Posted at 7:34 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A staff member for the state's utility regulation agency says the state's largest electricity supplier appears to have acted prudently in seeking a $212 million rate increase.  But Valerie Boyce, a lawyer on the Public Service Commission staff, says whatever action the PSC may take against Entergy Arkansas remains in the air as the utility sues the company that transports its coal.

Entergy Arkansas is a subsidiary of New Orleans-based Entergy Corporation.  The Arkansas company last year asked for a 9.9 percent rate increase to offset an increase in fuel costs.  The increase would have added $9.27 to the monthly bill of a typical consumer using a thousand kilowatts of energy a month.

State regulators blocked the increase, saying that it, plus a six percent increase imposed the previous October, would not be in the public interest.  Regulators ordered a study to determine why the higher rate was needed.

Speaking Thursday before a commission meeting, Boyce said that, while the rate hikes are difficult to accept, investigators found no evidence the company manipulated its rates to collect more money from customers.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)