Entergy Arkansas customers to see $10 decrease in monthly bills

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 1,765 views 

Entergy's Arkansas Nuclear One power plant in Russellville, Ark. (photo from Entergy)

Entergy Arkansas bills are expected to decline by about $10 per month for the average residential customer as the utility’s fuel charge falls to the lowest level in more than a decade, according to a March 28 news release. The decrease is expected to start in April.

According to the Little Rock-based utility, its low-cost power generation portfolio and the lower gas prices last year allowed for the decrease. An average residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours monthly will see a decrease of $10.01 in their bill – a 7.49% decline. Depending on usage, commercial and industrial customers will see a decrease of between 1.6% and 17.7%.

“Although our rates are consistently lower than the regional and national average, we continue to keep affordability for our customers at the forefront of our decisions,” said Ventrell Thompson, vice president of customer service. “The total decrease customers see on their bills will vary based on their individual energy usage but comes at a time when our customers need bill relief and will extend during the upcoming hot summer months.”

The decrease was prompted by a lower fuel rate, or the Energy Cost Recovery Rider (ECR), which decreased to the lowest level in more than a decade. This rate is adjusted annually and is passed on to customers. The new rate is $0.00882 per kilowatt-hour, down from $0.01883 per kilowatt-hour.

The rate is adjusted based on the changes in the cost of fuel used by Entergy Arkansas to generate electricity and wholesale prices paid for additional electricity. The new rate will be in effect until March 2025, unless an interim adjustment is needed. The charge is reflected on bills as the Fuel and Purchased Cost.

“Because we have a diverse fuel mix that includes nuclear, natural gas, coal, solar and hydropower, we are able to produce electricity at the lowest cost possible,” said William Cunningham, director of resource planning. “Our consistently low rates help make our state an attractive place for new and existing businesses to grow and expand.”

In 2023, more than 71% of Entergy Arkansas’ total energy production came from nuclear energy. Natural gas accounted for about 15% of total energy production. Along with Energy Arkansas’ three solar farms, Stuttgart, Chicot and Searcy, an additional 530 megawatts of new solar generation will start operating this year – Walnut Bend (100 megawatts), West Memphis (180 megawatts) and Driver Solar (250 megawatts). Another 400 megawatts of solar capacity is expected to be completed next year.

According to Entergy Arkansas, the new ECR rate includes recovery of cost-shifting from Entergy Arkansas net-metering customers. The utility’s calculations show that $8.9 million in costs are being shifted to all customers because of private net-metering installations. The utility noted this is only a portion of the overall costs that have been shifted to other customers because of net metering.

Lauren Waldrip, executive director of the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association, provided the following statement on cost-shifting related to net metering:

“The Public Service Commission and Court of Appeals has said on multiple occasions there is no material cost shift. Entergy is simply selling less power due to the adoption of net metering systems. Lost revenue does not equate to a cost shift, and attempting to charge ratepayers for lost sales is disgusting and unfair to all ratepayers. The fact that these ECR filings include no justification of that $8.9 million figure only further confirms that the ‘cost-shift’ is fake.”

Entergy Arkansas, a subsidiary of New Orleans-based Entergy Corp., has about 730,000 customers in 63 counties.