PSC Clears Entergy Arkansas to Join MISO

The Arkansas Public Service Commission has cleared Entergy Arkansas Inc. to join the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator Inc., a move the utility says will save its Arkansas customers $263 million over 10 years.

The PSC filed Order No. 76 (PDF) on Monday, which granted Entergy's request to transfer control of its transmissions assets to MISO, subject to certain conditions set by the commission. Entergy says it expects to be fully integrated with the regional power grid in December.

"This is a major milestone for our company and our customers — as we work toward the successful conclusion of a multi-year journey to exit the Entergy System Agreement," Hugh McDonald, Entergy Arkansas's president and CEO, said in a news release.

"Our teams continue working day and night on the MISO integration, and I can assure you we are committed to being ready on Dec. 19 to begin capturing the benefits of MISO for our customers."

Entergy Arkansas said that MISO, a massive regional power pool spanning from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, will deliver "improved reliability and open access to more competitive and diverse generation resources."

Entergy Arkansas has been working since the late 1990s to exit a system agreement it held with other Entergy operations in several surrounding states and join a regional transmission operator, or RTO. Entergy Corp. even made a failed attempt to establish an RTO itself in the mid-2000s.

An RTO is a nonprofit that coordinates all generators within its footprint, calculates the costs and bids on the power and uses an algorithm to determine which line route will cost ratepayers the least. In the end, the transfer to MISO should mean some savings to Arkansas ratepayers, in part because they will no longer be liable for the cost of energy they don’t need.