Entergy customers will see rates drop 20 percent
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 25, 2001
AP and staff reports
Tuesday, September 25, 2001
The Natchez Democrat
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Thousands of Entergy customers in Mississippi will see their
bills drop by 20 percent next month because of lower natural gas
prices and the state Public Service Commission’s switch to a quarterly
rate adjustment system.
The price of natural gas – a major source of power for generating
electricity – has dropped, meaning Entergy can pass savings on
to its customers.
&uot;This means that an average residential bill will decrease
from about $96 for every thousand kilowatt-hours used to about
$77,&uot; said Forest Persons, customer service manager for Entergy
&uot;Entergy does not make or lose money on the fuel it purchases
to generate electricity,&uot; he said. &uot;When our fuel costs
go down, we pass the savings on to the customer.&uot;
Entergy serves 400,000 Mississippi customers, primarily in
The price charged to electric customers includes the cost of
fuels used to generate the power. This cost is passed directly
to customers. Previously, fuel costs were estimated once a year
for the entire year.
However the Public Service Commission, in response to volatile
natural gas prices, in January began to adjust Entergy’s fuel
costs on a quarterly basis.
The quarterly reviews were started to help eliminate &uot;rate
shock,&uot; said Nielsen Cochran, chairman of the regulatory
&uot;You have an increase in production and a decrease in
usage. This has allowed gas companies to store supplies,&uot;
Mississippi Power, which relies less on natural gas and more
on coal, still gets annual reviews, said spokesman Kurt Brautigam.
Its price per 1,000 kilowatt-hours is $79.83. Mississippi Power
serves 192,000 customers in southeast Mississippi.
Mississippi Valley Gas, which retails natural gas in a number
of counties, also expects lower bills this year, spokesman Phil
Hardwick said. &uot;Natural gas prices this time of the year
compared to the same time last year are considerably lower, and
we expect that to result in lower bills when compared to the same
time last year,&uot; he said.
&uot;I’d hate to put a percentage on it, but I don’t expect
the prices that we had last year,&uot; he said.
In the summer Entergy switched some of its power plants from
natural gas to oil to achieve a cheaper blend, said Entergy Mississippi
President and CEO Carolyn Shanks.
Now that prices on natural gas and oil have both fallen, adjustments
are again being made to find the most economical blend, she said.