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Arkansas Electric Customers Score Reprieve on Estimated $1 Billion Rate Hike, For Now

July 27, 2011

Dec. 7, 2009

Little Rock, AR – The Arkansas Public Service Commission (PSC) granted a motion on Friday, December 4th to suspend the White Bluff rate making hearing slated for March 8, 2010. The decision comes one day after the PSC’s staff filed a motion to suspend the hearing, allowing time to gather more information about impacts of the Plant’s retrofits.

In its decision the Commission cited letters sent to the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) from the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Department of Agriculture supporting the motion to suspend the hearing. The Commission also cited supporting letters from the Sierra Club and National Audubon Society as well as those from the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office and Arkansas Electric Energy Consumers.

The Commission quoted their staff’s reasoning in its decision stating, “[A]s a result of the

letters, ADEQ may take actions which could significantly affect the environmental controls project and, subsequently, this Docket.” As such, PSC staff contend, “[T]he most logical and administratively efficient course of action would be to suspend the procedural schedule in this Docket.”

The Commission did not set an alternate date for the hearing, but noted that, “[B]eginning thirty (30) days from the date of this Order and every 30 days thereafter until modified by a subsequent Commission Order, [Entergy Arkansas, Inc.] shall file a progress report on developments related to the ADEQ and EPA’s ongoing review…”

Lev Guter, the Sierra Club’s Associate Regional Representative, commented that, “Entergy wants to hike the rates of Arkansas electric customers to prolong the life of its White Bluff coal-fired plant that harms Arkansans’ health and environment. The Plant’s retrofits do little to stop spewing out mercury and lung damaging soot and nothing to limit climate changing carbon dioxide emissions. We welcome the Commission’s decision to step cautiously before conducting a hearing where ratepayers’ health, environment and pocketbooks are at stake.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE call Lev Guter, Sierra Club Associate Regional Representative, at (941) 779-3337

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