Electric rate hike, if approved, could take effect next summer

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - If state regulators approve a rate increase for Entergy Arkansas, the increase isn't likely to take effect until July of next year.

The utility is seeking its first base rate increase since 1985.

The state Public Service Commission is expected to make a decision by June of next year, and after that, Entergy customers could be billed at the higher rate, if its approved.

Entergy Arkansas wants to increase customers' base rates by 7.5%.  Average residential bill would increase by $7.68 a month with the base increase.

The typical monthly residential bill now is $102.77. Entergy Arkansas is the state's largest electricity provider, with almost 677,000 customers in 63 of Arkansas' 75 counties.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)