Arkansas Electric Rate Update - Residential - Central - Liberty
Arkansas Electric Rate Request to Support Customer Initiatives
On February 10, 2023, Liberty submitted a request with the Arkansas Public Service Commission (APSC) to adjust electric base rates for its Arkansas electric customers. The last rate update for Arkansas customers was effective in September 2014. Since that rate update, Liberty has invested approximately $62 million in Arkansas to support initiatives to benefit its customers. The new requested rates reflect Liberty’s efforts to better serve customers through the transition to clean, less expensive renewable energy, investments to strengthen and modernize infrastructure and systems for improved reliability and customer service, and to support growth in the communities served.
To help keep energy affordable and ease the impact of the rate update, Liberty has requested to phase in new rates over a four-year period. If approved by regulators, the rate adjustment, anticipated to go into effect in late 2023, would cost an average Liberty Arkansas residential electric customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours of usage per month approximately $11.01 per month in year one, a 10.1% increase. The average customer would see an incremental increase in their monthly bill of approximately $12.12 per month in year two and $13.33 in year three, $14.69 in the final fourth year; an approximate 10.1% increase per year.
As part of the request, three riders currently paid for by customers will be rolled into the new base rates and no longer appear as individual line items on customer bills: the Riverton Rider, the Alternative Generation Environmental Recovery Rider (“GER”), and the Tax Adjustment Rider (“TA Rider”). The new base rates will include these costs, which are not new to customers and are included in current customer bills. This, along with fuel savings associated with Liberty’s renewable wind energy, will help to lower the customer bill impact of the new requested base rates.
Frequently Asked Questions
A rate request is a public regulatory review process in which a utility must demonstrate to its state public service commission why a proposed change in rates is needed. This independent public process helps ensure transparency and fair rates based on the costs to serve customers.
Liberty is required to provide every customer in our service area with safe and reliable electricity at rates approved by the public service commission of each state. In exchange, the utility is allowed the opportunity (not a guarantee) to earn a fair return for investors. Even though our regulators will ultimately determine any changes to customer rates, we pledge to do our part to keep rates as reasonable as possible.
First, Liberty must demonstrate to state utility regulators why a rate change is needed. The Arkansas Public Service Commission (APSC) and other interested stakeholders review our filings and vet the company's request. The APSC then thoroughly reviews our request and holds public hearings to allow customers to comment. This process could take approximately eight months.
Liberty is proposing to phase new rates in over a four-year period to help keep service affordable and to ease the impact to customers. Liberty has also requested to stop the direct charge of the convenience fee that is currently applied when Arkansas electric customers pay their bill using a debit or credit card online or by phone.
Liberty offers assistance programs and flexible payment options, including a payment arrangement program for residential and business customers to allow for additional time to spread out past due balances and make payments more manageable. Customers can learn more about our assistance options at libertyenergyandwater.com.
Liberty has a list of various agencies that may be able to provide financial assistance for some portion of the utility bill. This list is available on our website or customers can call our Customer Care team at 1-800-206-2300.
At a Glance
- Over 5,274 electric customers served
- Last rate update was effective in September 2014
- $62 million invested since 2014 to support improved reliability, growth, consumer-focused technology, and cost-effective renewable energy
- Request to phase new rates in over four years to help keep energy affordable and ease the impact
- If approved by regulators, the average residential Arkansas electric customer, using approximately 1,000 kWh of electricity per month, would see a $11.01 bill increase in year one, a $12.12 bill increase in year two, a $13.33 bill increase in year three, and a $14.69 bill increase in year four
Key Investments Included in the Rate Update
Liberty’s investments in critical infrastructure, cost-saving and consumer-focused technology, and clean energy generation include:
Providing customers safe, reliable energy through Liberty’s infrastructure upgrades
These investments improve reliability and strengthen Liberty’s system and the grid against the impacts of extreme weather events and security threats. In every year but one since 2014, Liberty has placed in the top 25% of electric providers in Arkansas for service reliability. Examples of infrastructure investments to keep service safe and reliable in Arkansas include:
- Minimizing the impact of outages for customers by expanding substations and improving security technology at our substations
- Speeding power restoration by adding automated switching; this also helps to limit the number of impacted customers when an outage occurs
- Hardening the system to make it more resilient in extreme weather by replacing deteriorating poles, updating aged equipment and lines, and managing vegetation
- Supporting growth and economic development in our Northwest Arkansas service area with the proposed construction of a new substation in Gentry, Ark.; this project, expected to be completed in 2024, will help to provide needed capacity to better serve homes and business and allow for continued community growth
Transitioning to clean, renewable energy that saves customers money over the long term compared to other energy generation
This includes Liberty’s 600-megawatt wind energy farms: North Fork Ridge and Kings Point in Southwest Missouri, and Neosho Ridge in Southeast Kansas. The rate request includes $4 million per year in fuel cost savings for Arkansas customers due to the addition of wind energy generation, which requires no costly fuel to operate.
Providing customers with options to help manage and lower their monthly bill through the installation of smart meters and improved technology
The automated meter technology helps lower operational costs and supports a convenient customer service platform that puts customers in control of the most cost-effective time to use energy. Through this new account platform, which includes a mobile app, customers can choose to receive text and email notifications for billing and outages and view their energy usage in near real-time.
Reducing customer fees
As part of the rate request, Liberty has requested to stop the direct charge of the convenience fee that is currently applied when Arkansas electric customers pay their bill using a debit or credit card online or by phone.
Bill protection during extreme weather
Liberty is requesting the inclusion of a Revenue Decoupling Adjustment Rider (RDA Rider) to the bills of Arkansas electric customers. The purpose of the RDA Rider is to adjust customer bills to collect annual authorized revenue, which is often impacted by weather conditions. For instance, for weather periods that are milder than normal resulting in lower customer usage, an RDA Rider charge will be applied to the bill. For weather periods that are harsher than normal resulting in more customer usage, a credit will be applied to the bill. This rider would prevent the Company from over or under earning during abnormal weather conditions.
Learn About Recent Liberty Electric Investment Projects
Read Our Rate Update Fact Sheet