Act 1556 of 1999 and Act 324 of 2001
The Arkansas General Assembly passed Act 1556 of 1999 to provide for the introduction of retail competition in the electric utility industry by January 1, 2002, but no later than June 30, 2003. Act 324 of 2001 amended Act 1556 to change the earliest implementation date for retail electric competition from January 1, 2002, to October 1, 2003. The amendments to Act 1556 of 1999 were the result of recommendations by the Commission in its Progress Report to the General Assembly on the Development of Competition in Electric Markets and the Impact on Retail Customers, submitted on November 29, 2000. The specific amendments to Act 1556 included changing the date for initiating retail competition in Arkansas from January 1, 2002 to not earlier than October 1, 2003, nor later than October 1, 2005. The amendments to Act 1556 clarified that the Commission may delay implementation of retail open access upon findings that most customers would not have a reasonable opportunity to realize net benefits, specifically including relative price benefits for residential and small business customers, and that demonstrably effective wholesale market structures are not in place. In its Report to the General Assembly Pursuant to Act 324 on the Development of a Competitive Electric Market and Possible Impact on Customers, submitted on December 20, 2001, the Commission recommended that the General Assembly consider either a complete suspension of the current statute for a considerable period of time, perhaps going out to 2010 or 2012, or repeal of the statute.
Director, Electric Section
Arkansas Public Service Commission