LITTLE ROCK — Entergy Arkansas on Monday filed a request with the state Public Service Commission to transfer control of its transmission facilities to a regional transmission organization.

LITTLE ROCK — Entergy Arkansas on Monday filed a request with the state Public Service Commission to transfer control of its transmission facilities to a regional transmission organization.

Entergy told the PSC its target date for the transfer to the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator, or MISO, is December 2013. The utility would retain ownership of its generation and transmission facilities, and responsibility for maintaining them.

The transfer request is part of a larger plan by Entergy to join MISO. The company said in a release Monday it expects to save customers $170 million to $228 million over a 10-year period by joining MISO by itself, and that the savings will be greater if all the Entergy operating companies join MISO.

The savings are possible because of MISO’s large, more efficient marketplace, the company said.

If the transfer is approved, after December 2013 Entergy Arkansas will still be a subsidiary of Entergy Corp. but will no longer be under a system agreement that has required Entergy Arkansas customers to make equalization payments to out-of-state customers for the past five years, in accordance with a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruling.

Entergy Arkansas provides electricity to 697,000 customers in 63 of the state’s 75 counties. New Orleans-based Entergy Corp. delivers power to 2.7 million customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

MISO currently operates an electrical grid across 12 states.

During the summer, the PSC held a series of public hearings on the impact of an Entergy move to MISO and to hear testimony on other options.

In October, the PSC issued a 112-page order that dictated the next series of steps for Entergy Arkansas to move to MISO, including:

—Not stating an opinion on whether Entergy Arkansas should join MISO or Little Rock-based Southwest Power Pool for its transmission coordination. The PSC order says only that a regional transmission organization makes sense.

—Recognizing that some other electric companies in Arkansas, such as SWEPCO and the Electric Cooperatives, must be given consideration because Entergy’s move to MISO could affect “the public interest.” Based on PSC testimony, this determination could impact the financial model for the Entergy Arkansas merge with MISO.

—An emphasis that Entergy Arkansas maintain independence from its parent company and sister operating organizations. This has been a real sore spot for PSC commissioners and one that led to contentious grilling in a recent hearing.

———-

Arkansas News Bureau business columnist Roby Brock contributed to this report.