NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Paving the way for significant customer savings, regulators in New Orleans and Mississippi today issued decisions supporting proposals by the Entergy operating companies they regulate to join the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator, or MISO, in December 2013. These actions complete all of the retail regulatory decisions needed for the six Entergy operating companies to move forward with their plan to join MISO.
The Mississippi Public Service Commission decision allows for up to $284 million in estimated savings over the next decade for Entergy Mississippi's customers. In Louisiana, the New Orleans City Council decision is projected to result in more than $40 million in savings to New Orleans electric customers.
Across Entergy's operating companies' footprint, customer savings are projected to reach $1.4 billion in the first decade of MISO membership. Independent studies also forecast significant economic value for electric co-operatives, independent power producers, municipalities and other industry participants, resulting from the move to MISO."This represents a huge step forward in our effort to ensure a robust, efficient electrical system serving the future of our city," said Charles Rice, Jr., president and chief executive officer of Entergy New Orleans. "MISO's massive footprint and its experience in operating day-ahead and real-time regional energy markets make it the right fit for our customers. MISO also helps us prepare to meet the demands of a city with a growing appetite for reliable, affordable electricity." In Mississippi, Haley Fisackerly, president and chief executive officer of Entergy Mississippi said, "It's clear that MISO is good for our customers and the communities we serve – and we're appreciative of our commission's decision that joining MISO is in the public interest. This forward-thinking initiative will produce savings for customers and enhance Mississippi's economically competitive position." Today's decisions fulfill requests by Entergy's operating companies to transfer functional control of their transmission facilities to MISO in December 2013. The Louisiana Public Service Commission issued the first ruling in May followed by Arkansas and Texas regulators in October. Each request to join MISO was subjected to extensive review as retail regulators sought to ensure that the proposed move would serve the public interest. "The Entergy operating companies noted from the very beginning that the greatest benefits would accrue to our customers if all of the operating companies join MISO at the same time," said Theo Bunting, president of utility operations for Entergy Services, Inc. "That makes today's rulings great news not only for our customers in New Orleans and Mississippi, but also for our customers everywhere the Entergy operating companies serve. "In New Orleans, Mississippi and throughout the region, our local teams have worked closely with their regulators, staffs and advisors, and stakeholders to demonstrate that the move to MISO is in the best interest of our customers and all of those who are served by our transmission system," added Bunting. "We're pleased that our retail regulators have determined that MISO is in the public interest. Now there's a lot of work to do to implement the move to MISO and thus seize these benefits for our customers." MISO is the oldest and one of the largest regional transmission organizations – a firm that manages congestion on the grid and operates sophisticated markets for the purchase and sale of electricity. The savings projected with MISO are largely attributable to its organized power markets, which allow for a more efficient commitment and dispatch of generating plants, to economies of scale offered by an RTO of MISO's size, and to MISO's transmission cost allocation methodology that equitably allocates the costs of transmission projects to those receiving the benefits from those projects.