This is the largest settlement in the state’s history and includes $235,000,000 with $65,000,000 in savings to customers.
On Thursday, the Mississippi Public Service Commission announced a $300 million settlement with Entergy Mississippi over the Grand Gulf Nuclear Plant. The vote to approve the settlement by the PSC Commissioners was unanimous.
The settlement will produce $80 cash payments or bill credits to Entergy Mississippi’s 461,000 customers.
The PCS says the settlement will aid in mitigation of future rate increases caused by volatile global energy markets. It represents the Public Service Commission’s largest cash settlement in state history.
“I thank my colleagues and the Commission’s staff for the hard work that resulted in this historic settlement. To be able to send cash back to Mississippians at a time when they are being hit with high gasoline prices at the pump and inflation at every turn is one of my proudest achievements as a Public Service Commissioner,” said Northern District Commissioner Brandon Presley. “In a global energy crisis, we have taken the lead to brunt these effects, as much as possible, and provide long-term and short-term financial benefits to our people. We will continue to hunt in every nook and cranny for ways to save Mississippians money and hold utility companies accountable.”
Litigation began in 2017 before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission due to certain accounting and financing aspects of the Grand Gulf Nuclear Power Station.
The $300 million settlement with Entergy Mississippi and other parties is related to 13 litigated proceedings before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. This global settlement for the State of Mississippi will deliver expeditious benefits to Entergy Mississippi’s customers through refunds and prospective rate reductions, plus decrease regulatory uncertainty at the Grand Gulf Nuclear Station.
The results of the Settlement include:
- Producing roughly a total of $300 million in benefits for Entergy Mississippi customers.
- $200 million will be used to offset high natural gas prices caused by global spikes in energy markets.
- Without infusion of this $200 million, Entergy Mississippi customers would have seen an over $15 dollar a month increase beginning in January 2023.
- The $200 million offset to Entergy Mississippi’s natural gas procurement to make electricity will also erase over $20 million in fees Entergy Mississippi’s customers would have incurred.
- $35 million will be used for a onetime bill credit or check of approximately $80 for each customer.
- The remaining $65 million in savings will provide additional benefits that will mitigate future costs to customers.
- Entergy Mississippi, at the expense of their shareholders, will incur costs of $600,000 over the next four years for an annual audit of certain financial aspects of the Grand Gulf Nuclear Power Station as directed by the Commission.
“Today’s settlement is a huge win for Entergy Mississippi customers, especially in the Central District, where nearly 70% of Entergy Mississippi customers reside,” Central District Commissioner Brent Bailey said. “The $80 credit for each customer— and every other dollar that we can help customers save on their electric bill— goes back into their pockets during a time that Mississippians face increasing prices on many consumer goods and services. The conclusion of this lawsuit also allows the Commission to direct Entergy Mississippi to use $200 million to offset anticipated rate increases which will also put money back into their pockets. As Commissioner, it’s an honor to be a part of the success of this noteworthy settlement.”
Over the coming weeks, the Commission will address and order the disbursement of the Settlement.
“By resolving these issues, we can focus on the long-term future of Grand Gulf Nuclear Station to ensure it remains the critical, emissions-free power source it is to serve our customers,” said Haley Fisackerly, Entergy Mississippi president and CEO. “With natural gas prices having tripled over the last year, raising customer power bills as a result, the low-cost power we get from Grand Gulf is a financial lifeline to our customers right now.”
The settlement involved more than a dozen separate proceedings, including some that raised decades-old issues, brought by the public service commissions of Louisiana, Arkansas, the City of New Orleans and, in part, Mississippi. The MPSC disputed the company’s position on a variety of issues involving the taxing, accounting and financing of the nuclear unit and its impact on customers’ bills.
Entergy has long maintained that the disputed positions regarding the taxing, financing, accounting and operating of Grand Gulf before FERC are proper, well-reasoned and in the best interest of its customers and the company.
Entergy also believes Grand Gulf has provided consistent value for its customers through its operations over the years. However, Entergy officials explained that the ongoing cost of the dispute at FERC and the uncertainty it created for customers, employees and stockholders led the company to seek a resolution.