Power Rates Could Soon Drop - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Power Rates Could Soon Drop

By Jon Kalahar - email

JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - The state Public Service Commission continued its hearings on the Entergy rate hikes that went into effect earlier this summer.

Entergy says the rising cost of natural gas caused the spike in power bills. But now, even though temperatures may not come down any time soon, your power rates could.

"It's time for Entergy to tighten up on their in-house budget," Katrina Johnson said.

Johnson and her family of five have done everything in their power to reduce their $200 electric bill.

"Our thermostat has been reset to 78 degrees, we've switched to florescent light bulbs, limited our tv watching," Johnson said.

Still, how much she pays for power could depend on something out of her control.

"It's during periods of market disruption, that we're experiencing now, where were seeing two and three hundred percent increases," Walter Drabinski said.

Drabinski is an expert on fuel adjustment charges, having studied power companies who use them in several states. Drabinski says the huge swing in natural gas has caused the spike in power rates.

From July 2007 to the end of June 2008, rates increased from $5.50 to $13.50. But the good news in the last week and a half - rates are down under $9. And power rates will hopefully follow suit.

"We're hopeful and cautiously optimistic, but happy to see it going down," Entergy spokesperson Mara Hartmann said.

A continued down swing on natural gas and the fourth quarter fuel adjustment filing by Entergy means they won't pay as much to power their plants, and less cost is passed on to customers.

Commission President Leonard Bentz likes what he sees as well.

"You'll probably see something from this commission that is a move in the direction that will give the ratepayers some relief in the very near future," Bentz said.

Drabinski is conducting an independent audit of Entergy's fuel adjustment charges and purchasing policies. His final report will be issued to the commission before they make any changes.

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