Injunction filed by Arkansas town preventing completion of Minden-SWEPCO settlement

The deal made with SWEPCO under former mayor Tommy Davis is still pending approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) because of an injunction filed by the city of Prescott, Arkansas. 

“There has been an injunction filed by Prescott, Arkansas that they want the same agreement that we have. FERC is waiting until that plays out before they sign off on our agreement so we’re just in a holding situation,” mayor Terry Gardner said.

Because the settlement is still pending, Gardner was limited in the comments he could give. 

 “I do feel like it will go through, it just might be 5 or 6 months down the road.” Gardner said. 

The proposed terms of the settlement, reached in November 2018 called for retroactive changes to January 1, 2018. These changes include a $400,000 cash payment to  the city of Minden, a change to the method of calculating Minden’s rates, a 1% reduction in SWEPCO’s return on equity, the right to install up to one megawatt of generation in Minden, protection against being charged for SWEPCO’s abandoned Wind Catcher Project, and improvements in how transmission is managed.

Minden would use the cash payment to generate its own “behind the meter” energy to reduce Minden’s demand on energy from SWEPCO. 

Both Minden and SWEPCO agreed to take a break from litigating, and each will refrain from asking FERC to approve any further changes until January 1, 2022.

Every Minden customer can help lower SWEPCO’s monthly bill to Minden by intentionally reducing summer demands by being “energy conscious” and adopting energy efficiency measures. These include sealing air leaks, increasing insulation, and shifting appliance and water pump usage from on-peak times (late afternoon weekdays in the summer) to off-peak times (nighttime). Actions taken by and during the summer of 2019, including Minden-installed generation, could significantly reduce rates to Minden’s customers. 

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