FACES, which stands for “Facts About Customers’ Electric Services, has been working in the past few weeks getting out its message trying to convince Sherwood voters that North Little Rock Electric should continue providing about 7,000 Sherwood residents electric service.
On May 14, Sherwood voters will be asked to vote upon a referendum where they wish to uphold or turn down Ordinance 1953, passed by the city council last November that adopted a 25-year franchise agreement with NLR Electric to provide utility service to a portion of Sherwood.
Portions of Sherwood are provided electric service by NLR Electric, Entergy, and First Electric Cooperative of Jacksonville.
“What exactly is being voted on May 14,” states pre-election literature circulated by FACES supporters. “What does a yes or no vote mean? ‘Yes’ means approval of Sherwood City Council’s vote on Ordinance 1953.’No’ means Sherwood City Council must revisit this energy issue.”
FACES points out that if Ordinance 1953 passes that city residents currently served by NLR Electric will continue to get utility service from NLR. “Entergy will remain with Entergy. First Electric Coop will remain with First Electric Coop.”
All Sherwood city residents who are registered voters are eligible to vote on May 14, according to FACES.
“If Ordinance 1953 of the Sherwood City Council is not upheld do the NLR Electric customers automatically become customers of another provider?” asks FACES. “No, this election means that the city council would have to review the facts in the matter and address the issue with another vote.”
FACES also did an analysis of the service records of the three utilities comparing the number of customer interruptions and the number of minutes for those interruptions per year.
“Information below was obtained from the Public Service Commission and NLR Electric,” according to FACES. “It shows that Entergy customers were without service four to five times more than NLRE customers. It also shows that NLR Electric customers were without service on an average of approximately one-half hour, while Entergy customers were without service in 2011 on average between seven and 19 hours.”
FACES also questions what would be the cost for Sherwood residents going with another electric provider other than NLR Electric.
“The range is quoted between $10 million to $20 million,” according to FACES. “The actual amount will probably be determined by legal action anticipated to last two to four years.”
FACES adds, “The Arkansas Public Service Commission (PSC) would determine the amount customers with the new provider would be charged. It is very likely the PSC could decide Sherwood customers must assume a higher rate than other customers.”