As Entergy begins the process of moving into Itta Bena, a spokesman for the company says it is ready to help serve the city.
“We look forward to working with everyone involved to find a solution to help the people of Itta Bena,” said Joey Lee, communications manager for Entergy Mississippi.
“What is important to know is that this is a very complex process that will take a significant amount of time,” he added.
Last month, it was announced that the company would be supplying the city’s residents and businesses with electricity after the Board of Aldermen voted 4-1 during a special meeting to transfer the supply over to it.
Mildred Miller, alderman at large, dissented from ratifying the transfer but did not say why. She and Mayor J.D. Brasel have objected to an expected loss of revenue. The city has been using these funds to pay other bills and employee salaries.
The Municipal Energy Agency of Mississippi, the city’s current energy supplier, had notified the city and the Public Service Commission that it would discontinue selling to Itta Bena on Dec. 1 because of long-term debt.
MEAM values the debt at around $800,000, although Brasel has said the figure is closer to $700,000.
“The city vote was just the first step in a complex process that will have to ensure that any solution Entergy provides is appropriate for both the people of Itta Bena and our existing customers,” Lee said. “Entergy Mississippi is participating in this discussion at the request of the Public Service Commission to gain more information and a better understanding of the issues.”
City Attorney Solomon Osborne, who was appointed to work with Entergy on arrangements for the transfer, said the board will have to see how much revenue would be lost and then plan how the budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year would be adjusted.
Lee said that he did not have a more detailed timeline but that Entergy has been in discussions with the Mississippi Public Service Commission in preparation for the transition. Brandon Presley, the Northern District public service commissioner, has previously called the decision to transfer service to Entergy “a step in the right direction.”
For years, electrical issues have plagued the city, causing protests and petitions from its residents. This eventually led Presley — who had spearheaded finding a provider for the city — to step in.
Presley could also not provide a timeline for the transfer but did say, “I expect an update in the coming week and a formal filing in mid- to late December.”
•Contact Adam Bakst at 581-7233 or firstname.lastname@example.org.