OP-ED — FISACKERLY: Four key steps to ensure low-cost, reliable power for years to come

Haley R. Fisackerly, President and CEO of Entergy Mississippi

Haley R. Fisackerly, President and CEO of Entergy Mississippi

In 2012, Entergy Mississippi, Inc. took four key steps toward meeting the ever-growing challenge of providing an ample supply of affordable, reliable electricity to our customers today and into the future. These were high value, long term, big ideas that will provide big savings in the not-too-distant future and help keep our rates low for years to come.

» We Got a Great Deal on a Natural Gas Plant

Natural gas prices are at historic lows, and the forecast is predicting low prices for years to come. Entergy Mississippi, recently purchased the KGen Hinds plant in Jackson. We bought the 450 megawatt plant for less than $250 million – to build it would have cost more than $650 million. That was about $400 million in savings in one transaction – a savings that will ultimately go directly to our customers.

» We’re Pooling Power with Other Utilities

Entergy Mississippi knows that sharing resources can save money – and we’ve done just that. We will soon be joining the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator which manages the power purchases and transmission of 368 utilities and other participants in 12 states. Previously, Entergy companies purchased and transmitted their power independently. We project this move can save customers approximately $250 million over the next decade.

» We Made Grand Gulf More Powerful…

Nuclear power is some of the cheapest power, but plants are expensive to build. We completed a major upgrade of the Grand Gulf Nuclear Station in Port Gibson last year. This was far less expensive than building a new plant, and increased the output to 1,443 megawatts, a 13 percent increase in power. This makes Grand Gulf the most affordable source of electricity in Mississippi – and that cost savings will go directly to you.

 » …and We Acquired More Nuclear Power

Because Grand Gulf is such a bargain, it makes sense for us to get more of its power for our customers. And we did just that. We worked with, Entergy Arkansas to acquire their excess Grand Gulf power adding 90 megawatts (enough to power 90,000 homes) to Entergy Mississippi’s power portfolio.

Electricity bills can fluctuate month-to-month based on usage, fuel costs and other factors. But customers need their power provider to have a long term strategy to keep their bills as low as possible year-to-year.

While these steps brought a modest rate increase initially, they will result in long-term cost benefits to our customers – totaling hundreds of millions of dollars in the coming years. And they will enhance Mississippi’s ability to attract economic development and growth in the communities we serve.

The men and women of Entergy Mississippi are proud of the work we did in 2012 working alongside the Mississippi Public Service Commissioners who approved each new cost-saving step. And in 2013, you can rest assured: we will continue to look for great deals for you, your family and your business.

» Haley R. Fisackerly is President and CEO of Entergy Mississippi