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Entergy rates to go up, or down?

JACKSON — Central District Public Service Commissioner Lynn Posey announced that the Public Service Commission (PSC) has issued orders to Entergy Mississippi Inc., which Posey says will reduce customer rates by $1.91 per 1,000 kilowatt hours for average residential customers.

Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley, however, says he cast the sole vote blocking a $14.5-million rate increase, and that rates will go up.

Posey said in addition to cost savings for the ratepayer, Entergy Mississippi agreed to pay for fuel audits for fiscal 2008 and fiscal 2009 by an independent audit firm, which would be hired by the PSC.

Both Posey and Presley said Entergy Mississippi has agreed to withdraw its appeal of the PSC’s denial of the $3.775-million increase pursuant to last year’s formula rate plan evaluation.

Posey said, “By issuing these orders outlining the above referenced cost savings, the Commission has met its statutory requirements to make sure Entergy Mississippi Inc. provides affordable as well as reliable energy for its customers.”

“This rate increase has come about because of Entergy’s formula rate plan that I have advocated changing since day one because it allows the company to ‘grade its own papers’ when it comes to service quality.” Presley said. “The purpose of this plan is to, in part, tie rates to service quality, yet that gets very little independent scrutiny under the current set-up.”

Presley noted that none of the complaints from consumers that are registered with the PSC against Entergy are taken into account when setting the rates under the current plan.

“Entergy could have a valid complaint filed by each and every one of their customers in Mississippi, and it would not decrease their profits one penny under this current plan,” Presley said.

In a separate item, Posey and Presley as well as Southern District Public Service Commissioner Leonard Bentz issued a statement July 1 concerning the lack of budget action by the Mississippi Legislature. The PSC said this is unprecedented in the PSC’s history, and it is now operating in “unchartered territory.”

Posey, Presley and Bentz said they “stand united with their commitment to serve the public despite the lack of funding.”

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