PSC waives hearings, makes way for Entergy Mississippi ruling

Two Mississippi Public Service Commission (PSC) hearings in September on Entergy Mississippi’s proposal to join the Midwest ISO (MISO) have been cancelled by agreement of stakeholders to allow the PSC to move ahead with a decision on the transfer request, Entergy Mississippi said in a statement.

Entergy Mississippi President and CEO Haley Fisackerly said in the statement that the utility has worked closely with the PSC, Mississippi Public Utilities Staff and market stakeholders for more than a year to demonstrate the benefits of the proposal.

The Entergy (NYSE:ETR) subsidiary filed its formal change of control request with the commission on Dec. 2, 2011. Intervenors filed their testimony by Jun. 1, and Entergy Mississippi filed its rebuttal testimony Jun. 25. The intervenors include the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), Louisiana Generation, the Municipal Electric Agency of Mississippi and the South Mississippi Electric Power Association.

An approval would bring Entergy one step closer to transferring control of its entire transmission system to MISO and, ultimately, completing a spin-off and merger of those assets with ITC Holdings (NYSE:ITC).

“We are glad to see that our outreach efforts have succeeded in demonstrating to the public utilities staff and stakeholders that joining MISO is in the public interest, and we’re eager to work with the commission to move this matter forward,” Fisackerly said.

Approvals for transfer of Entergy systems control to MISO also have been sought in Entergy’s other operating territories for Arkansas and Texas. Regulators granted conditional approval in August for Entergy subsidiary Entergy Arkansas to complete integration with MISO, but a September filing by SPP says MISO has failed to meet regulatory conditions in Arkansas.

According to the company, support for the MISO transition grew recently during the Mississippi proceedings, with a Municipal Energy Agency of Mississippi filing in favor of the move and a South Mississippi Electric Power Association filing that withdraws earlier opposition.

In Mississippi, the PSC will move now to issue a decision on the transfer using testimony and evidence filed in the request proceedings. The PSC has not indicated when it plans to rule, but an Entergy Mississippi spokesperson told TransmissionHub on Sept. 24 that parties can challenge anything in the record by filing briefs with the PSC on Oct. 19.