KENNER, La. (AP) — Some customers of an Entergy unit will see a refund in their January electricity bills as a result of action taken at a Wednesday meeting of the state Public Service Commission.
Entergy Louisiana said in a news release that refunds totaling $70 million will go to customers in more than 40 parishes. It's the result of an agreement approved by the PSC allocating costs for replacing steam generators at the Waterford 3 nuclear plant.
The agreement also includes a $9.4 million rate reduction. It affects customers who were served by Entergy Louisiana prior to its being combined with the Entergy Gulf States utility in 2015.
Entergy says the typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month will see a refund of about $38 on the January bill, with a 43-cent monthly rate reduction.
The five elected PSC members voted 3-2 to approve the deal, according to The Advocate.
"This settlement represents good news for our customers and resolves a long-standing issue for our company," Phillip May, president and CEO of Entergy Louisiana, said in the news release.
PSC Chairman Scott Angelle, R-Breaux Bridge, and Commissioner Foster Campbell, D-Bossier Parish, voted against the deal. Commissioners Lambert Boissiere III, D-New Orleans, Charlie DeWitt, D-Lacompte, and Eric Skrmetta, R-Metairie, voted in favor.
The November 2010 discovery of "visible cracks and distortion" on key pieces of equipment to be installed at Waterford 3. The company said Wednesday that the resulting delays increased the cost of the project from $511 to $651 million.
Entergy had argued that its customers should bear the costs and said in a statement: "Our position has been that the project was properly managed and that all costs were prudently incurred."
Industrial plants up and down the Mississippi River countered that the utility's shareholders should be responsible.
Randy Young, the Baton Rouge lawyer representing 40 manufacturers, told the Advocate that Entergy's willingness to pay $23 million more than what an administrative law judge had recommended basically sealed the deal.
Waterford 3 was built in 1985. Its original steam generators were set to be replaced when, according to Entergy's release, pressure tests "revealed distortions in the stainless steel lining that had not been previously seen in the industry on equipment of similar size and design."