Entergy spokeswoman says company preparing for future

As Entergy Arkansas celebrates its 100th year in business, the company is preparing for the next 100 years, according to a company spokeswoman.

Sally Graham, who works in the communications department of the company, spoke Tuesday to the Pine Bluff Rotary Club and talked about company efforts to reduce costs to customers.

Graham said that beginning in April, customers will see a 5 percent reduction on their energy costs that will continue until March 2014. If the Arkansas Public Service Commission approves the company’s latest rate application, the base rate for residential customers will decrease by 6 percent per kilowatt hour.

“We’re fortunate to have nuclear-generated power that supplies most of our needs and also helps keep rates down,” Graham said, adding that surveys have indicated that rates are “about in the middle” when compared to other utility companies.

She said the company, which began as Arkansas Power and Light, currently serves about 700,000 customers in 63 Arkansas counties. The company, which was formerly headquartered in Pine Bluff, has also purchased a plant located in Hot Spring County located less than a mile from the spot where the company began.

To ensure lower rates, Graham said the company will be joining a company that supplies electrical power to 11 states running from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and is projected to save Arkansas rate payers $1.48 billion over the next decade through collectively buying.

She also plugged the company’s environmental initiative, a shareholder-created fund to provide money for environmental projects, telling the Rotarians the deadline for applications is March 29.