AEEC Proposes Plan for Recovering 2000 Storm Costs

by Gwen Moritz and Lance Turner  on Friday, Apr. 5, 2002 4:53 pm  

The Arkansas Electric Energy Consumers Inc. on Friday filed with the state Public Service Commission a compromise plan to resolve a dispute over how Entergy Arkansas should pay for damage incurred in the December 2000 ice storms.

AEEC attorney Glen Hoggard said the ratepayer group really wants a new rate case in which the PSC would set new electric rates based on all of Entergy's expenses, including the ice storm damage. But Entergy and the PSC staff have instead favored allowing the utility to use accumulated ratepayer overpayments of $155 million to pay for most of the $159 million in costs related to the storms.

AEEC's compromise plan asks the PSC to refund the $155 million to ratepayers and to then include the storm costs, amortized over 10 years, in electric rates.

On March 8, Entergy, the PSC staff and the state Attorney General's office said they reached an agreement to pay for the storm damage while leaving base rates alone.

If approved, the settlement would leave base rates at their current level more than a year, and Entergy would not pass along to ratepayers the cost of the 2000 ice storm. Instead, Entergy would pay for the storm with the $155 million it has in its Transition Cost Account.

The account was funded with ratepayer overpayments. It was originally set up to pay unrecoverable costs Entergy would incur after electric deregulation, which has since been postponed.

The AEEC has said the account was meant either to pay unrecoverable costs associated with deregulation or be refunded to ratepayers.

In its filing Friday, the AEEC asked that the PSC also consider its proposal at the April 11 hearing at which the original plan is to be considered.

The filings will be made available at the PSC's Web site under "daily filings."



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