The Arkansas Public Service Commission will meet Tuesday to consider a settlement with Entergy Arkansas over a rate increase.
The agreement could result in an 8.3 percent increase to the monthly bills of the utility's customers. Entergy says the rate hike would allow it to improve its electrical infrastructure and purchase one-fourth of the Union Power Station natural gas plant near El Dorado.
Settlement proceedings began in March 2015 after Entergy requested a $167 million increase. If the current proposal is approved, the company would receive over $30 million less than originally requested.
A majority of the public comments filed as part of the proceedings were opposed to the increase because of the burden it will place on customers with fixed incomes. Others shared concerns over perceived mismanagement of Nuclear One, the state’s nuclear power plant, and suggested Entergy should not receive more money without demonstrating better stewardship of its finances.
According to U.S. Energy Information Administration statistics from October 2015, Arkansas had among the lowest rates for electricity in the country at 10 cents per kilowatt hour for residential customers. The proposed rate increase would still leave Entergy’s 700,000 customers below the national average.
The Public Service Commission is expected to make a decision next month.