A power transmission company says it will locate a regional hub in Little Rock, a move that company officials say will bring between 30 and 50 high paying jobs to the state in the near future.
Governor Mike Beebe and Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola joined state economic development officials as well as representatives from Midcontinent Independent Systems Operator, or MISO, at the state Capitol to announce the new jobs.
MISO handles power transmitted on the nation’s electric grid and Beebe said the mostly-high tech jobs would pay an average of $85,000 a year.
MISO President and CEO John Bear said Little Rock was an easy choice for locating its regional hub.
“I think when you look at the central geographic location, you look at the great quality of life you have here, the excellent workforce and the colleges and universities that can support the high tech folks that we need, it was a very easy choice,” Bear said.
Colette Honorable, chairman of the state Public Service Commission, which gave approval for the company to operate in the state, said MISO coming to Arkansas is part of a significant change for state power utilities that she said should lead to savings for rate payers.
“All of Arkansas’s electric utilities will belong to a regional transmission organization, either the Southwest Power Pool or MISO,” Honorable said.
Honorable said the change would end money from Arkansas ratepayers going toward energy production in other states.
Stodola said MISO deciding to locate in the city would reflect well on the city. “People are going to look at us and say, ‘How did we land all these transmission suppliers?’” Stodola said.
MISO officials say they will be looking over the next 12 to 18 months for a suitable location for the company’s headquarters.