Entergy Miss. proposes larger cut in monthly bills

Published 6:33 pm Friday, August 15, 2008

Entergy Mississippi has proposed a 9.6 percent drop in September electric bills, almost twice as much as an earlier plan, in response to what it says are rapidly falling natural gas prices.

The proposed decrease follows two months of sharply higher electric bills that triggered complaints from many of its customers.

Entergy last week had proposed to the Mississippi Public Service Commission that monthly bills be reduced by 5 percent. That changed to 9.6 percent in a recalculated proposal the utility submitted to the PSC on Wednesday.

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The reduction is subject to approval by the Mississippi Public Service Commission, which could vote on the plan by earlier next week.

“After seeing prices skyrocket more than 120 percent since last year, we are now watching them drop significantly,” Haley Fisackerly, Entergy Mississippi’s president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “In proposing a 9.6 percent reduction, we are responding to the market and doing what we can right now to bring relief to our customers as quickly as possible.”

If approved, the reduction would begin with the September billing cycle. According to Entergy, a typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours per month would see savings of nearly $13.

“I think it’s wonderful. I wish it could be much more, but we’re moving in the right direction. And it’s not just us moving in the right direction, but it’s the market,” PSC Chairman Leonard Bentz said Wednesday night.

Entergy executives were closely questioned by the commission last month on a variety of topics related to billing, including a 28 percent hike in fuel-price adjustments, the efficiency of power plants and repayment of over-collections.

The jump in fuel-price adjustments, which followed a similar increase in natural gas prices, meant an average customer bill went from $103.42 in June to $132.71 in July. Officials said the latest readjustment proposal would trim the average bill by $12.74 to $119.97 in September.

“We know the increase has been a challenge for customers these past two months, especially with the rising price of gasoline, food and other necessities,” Fisackerly said. “That is why we’re stepping outside our normal process to pass the savings on to our customers now that the market has changed.”