Entergy’s strategy related to its integration into MISO received another high hurdle this week. The Mississippi Public Service Commission (“MPSC”) denied the Joint Application to transfer ownership and control of Entergy Mississippi’s high voltage transmission system to a subsidiary of ITC Holding Corporation. In its joint application, Entergy and ITC provide several reasons for the transaction, including the need for major capital investment to modernize the transmission grid:

Utilities and their regulators are faced with the question of how best to manage the increasing and evolving requirements that will be imposed to modernize the transmission grid, particularly in the light of capital requirements also facing the generation and distribution functions. The  proposed ITC Transaction, for which approval is being sought in this Joint Application, is part of EMI’s solution to address these escalating requirements for new  capital investment.[1]

Entergy also said the transfer would facilitate and build on the benefits of the Day 2 wholesale market that will be available when Entergy joins MISO.

However, MPSC did not find those or other stated benefits compelling enough to approve the transaction. In fact, the Commission took 99 pages to opine on why the transfer of Entergy’s transmission assets to ITC is not in the best interest of Entergy Mississippi’s customers. A long and interesting read, this phrase from paragraph 5 of the Decision reflects the gist of the Commission’s sentiment regard the transaction,

…offers with certainty only significant cost to ratepayers and complete loss of this Commission’s rate jurisdiction over the transmission assets at issue.

Although the MPSC seems to think it can still happen[2], this decision, along with the SPP remand, places Entergy in an interesting position regarding the MISO integration.

[1] Joint Application, page 4.
[2] Paragraph 18 of the decision directs Entergy to work with staff and file an initial plan regarding transmission upgrades 90 days after Entergy’s integration into MISO.