Entergy Texas Seeks Firm Financial Footing; Files Rate Case With PUC
Beaumont, Texas – Calling it a critical juncture for Entergy Texas, company officials today filed a rate case with the Public Utility Commission of Texas that would both increase base rates and the company’s storm damage reserve fund.
The rate request calls for increases totaling $107.5 million annually. Base rates would increase by $64.3 million, a figure that includes a $12.2 million increase to the company’s storm damage reserve. Special riders would add another $43.2 million.
If approved, the rate case would mean the average 1,000 kilowatt-hour residential bill would increase $14 per month, from the current $116 to about $130, or 11.7 percent. No increase from the company’s filing will show up on bills earlier than the company’s July 2008 billing cycle because Entergy Texas is under a rate freeze until June 30, 2008.
“Entergy Texas is asking for rates that align with our cost of doing business,” said Joe Domino, Entergy Texas president and chief executive officer. “Our rates were frozen in 1999 and not once in the eight years since then have we earned the level of return on equity that we are authorized to receive on the nearly $2 billion we have invested in Southeast Texas.
“During that time, we have continued to invest heavily in infrastructure and service reliability,” he said. “We have proven our ability in numerous ways, including extensive restoration following Hurricane Rita. And now we are looking to the future to ensure that this company is on firm financial ground as we prepare to face new challenges brought about by continued economic growth in southeast Texas.”
Domino cited Entergy’s accomplishments since 1999, including:
Nearly $600 million invested in new transmission and distribution systems.
Frequency of power outages is down by 50 percent.
Length of time outages last is down by 25 percent.
Complaints about reliability are down by 88 percent.
Domino added that the company plans to invest another $415 million in Texas between 2007 and 2009 on more service reliability and infrastructure improvements.
This rate case is also unique in that Entergy Texas has included, among the riders requested, one that would help qualified low-income customers and senior citizens in the same way that the Texas System Benefit Fund assists customers in other parts of the state. The rider would bring in $5 million annually. Currently, those who qualify receive a waiver of the $4.09 customer charge that all residential customers pay to cover metering costs. Under the new proposal, that waiver would be replaced with a more significant discount on the customer’s bill.
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