LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- The results are in, and Entergy Arkansas customers are saving big thanks to the decision to join MISO, a regional transmission organization.
Customers saved an estimated $46 million during the first year of Entergy Arkansas' membership in MISO, formally known as the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. Entergy's utilities joined MISO on Dec. 19, 2013, after a lengthy period of regulatory review.
MISO manages the commitment and dispatch of generation on the transmission grid, maintains reliability, plans new transmission facilities, and operates markets for the purchase and sale of electricity and related products.
The $46 million in savings were largely driven by the more efficient commitment and dispatch of power plants, resulting in access to lower cost generation through MISO's power market. MISO membership has also allowed Entergy Arkansas to reduce its required generation capacity reserves by 344 megawatts, producing additional long-term benefits and savings for its customers.
In addition to the customer savings, MISO provided an economic boost to Arkansas when it announced the opening of a regional operations center for the electric grid in Little Rock earlier this year. The new state-of-the-art command center will control part of a 15-state region stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to Manitoba, Canada and will house 42 highly skilled engineering and technology jobs. The company's initial set of approximately 42 employees are primarily experts in engineering and technology. At the company's March grand opening, Governor Asa Hutchison recognized a strong link between the energy resources MISO membership provides and his economic development plans.
"Governor Hutchison has made industrial development a priority for his administration and having reliable energy sources at competitive rates is the path to recruiting and expanding business, said Hugh McDonald, president and CEO of Entergy Arkansas, Inc. "Joining MISO is a great example of how we work to control customer costs and keep rates low so we can continue helping drive economic growth in Arkansas."
Entergy Arkansas provides electricity to approximately 700,000 customers in 63 counties. Entergy Arkansas is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation, an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including nearly 10,000 megawatts of nuclear power, making it one of the nation's leading nuclear generators. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.8 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of more than $12 billion and approximately 13,000 employees.