Arkansas Public Service Commission approves new Southwestern Electric Power Co. base rates

Published on January 02, 2020 by Kevin Randolph

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Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) said Monday that the Arkansas Public Service Commission approved new base rates for the company, providing a net annual increase of $23.9 million in non-fuel base rates.

A residential customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month will see a bill increase of approximately $8.43 per month, or 8.7 percent, SWEPCO said, noting that increases will vary depending on rate class and electricity usage.

The new rates will go into effect on Dec. 31, which is the first billing cycle of January 2020.

“Our goal is always to serve Arkansas customers and communities with a strong electric system that provides reliable and safe energy,” Malcolm Smoak, SWEPCO president and chief operating officer, said. “We work hard to balance the need to invest in the electric system with the need to manage our operating costs. We are committed to high quality service for the families, businesses, and communities we serve in Arkansas.”

The APSC approved the new rates on Dec. 27. The decision modified the terms of a settlement agreement filed in October 2019 by SWEPCO, the APSC General Staff, the Attorney General of Arkansas, the Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas, Walmart, Inc., the Western Arkansas Large Energy Consumers, and the Sierra Club.

The commission’s decision includes the approval of a formula rate plan for a five-year term, starting in 2021.

“The formula rate plan, as provided by Arkansas law, better aligns the company’s rates with its costs on an annual basis, which promotes greater rate stability and reduces the potential for large rate swings associated with general rate cases,” Smoak said.

The APSC decision also moved $28.9 million into base rates for costs currently recovered through separate charges on customers’ bills.