Arkansas PSC Approves Entergy-MISO Move, SPP Disapproves

The Arkansas Public Service Commission announced Friday it would approve Entergy Arkansas' joining with a regional transmission group, prompting a statement of disapproval from Southwest Power Pool.

According to a release, the PSC found that the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator of Carmel, Ind., (MISO) and Entergy complied with the conditions that PSC laid out. MISO must file proof of changes in governance, which will give state regulators more authority, before the PSC gives final approval.

"Today is a major step forward for electric customers throughout Arkansas and all of the Entergy service area," MISO CEO John R. Bear said in the release. "The APSC laid out a series of conditions for MISO to address, and through collaborative discussions with stakeholders in the MISO and Entergy region, we were able to meet those conditions."

Hugh McDonald, president and CEO of Entergy Arkansas, has said the move to MISO will save Arkansans $263 million in net present value between 2013 and 2022.

Nick Brown, SPP president and CEO, soon responded with a statement of disappointment with the approval, stating that SPP was a better choice than MISO.

"This is particularly disappointing since it appears to set a lesser standard than that placed upon other Arkansas utilities when they joined SPP, specifically the required governance that ensures ratepayers are protected through express authority delegated to state commissioners," Brown said.

The approval would create a "seam that will be difficult to manage," and prompt litigation, he said, "as has been the case with MISO's eastern seams."

Entergy has claimed Arkansas ratepayers would benefit to the tune of $263 million over 10 years as a result of the MISO merger. The announcement comes soon after Texas' Public Utility Commission similarly approved the merger.