Entergy Arkansas says it has received final regulatory approval from the Arkansas Public Service Commission in its move to join the Midwest Independent System Operation (MISO) transmission group.

Entergy began its effort to decouple itself from a transmission system agreement with its parent company and subsidiaries after a 2005 ruling forced the electric utility to absorb costs from sister organizations in the region and apply rate increases to Arkansas customers.

The commission’s Order No. 76, issued earlier this week, grants Entergy Arkansas’ request to transfer functional control of its transmission assets to MISO, subject to continued compliance with the commission’s conditions. It also outlines efforts to integrate into the regional grid operator’s system by December 2013.

“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,” said Hugh McDonald, president and CEO of Entergy Arkansas. “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 claims that it could save $263 million over a ten-year period by moving to MISO.

“This is a very positive order from the Arkansas Public Service Commission,” said MISO President and CEO John R. Bear. “It is one of the final regulatory actions in the process of bringing Entergy into MISO and allowing MISO to provide its proven transmission reliability, planning and lowest-cost energy to Arkansas and the rest of our new Southern Region. We will proceed on our current schedule which fully integrates Entergy into MISO by this December.”

By joining MISO, Entergy Arkansas becomes part of a massive regional power pool spanning from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. MISO both operates a market for electricity and manages congestion across a vast transmission grid – often referred to as the “air traffic controller” for electricity in the midwestern U.S.

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Talk Business Staff