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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- The lights are back on after the winter storm, but that power may come with a higher price.



Entergy Arkansas customers could see an increase in their bills because of the winter blizzard. Costs associated with the storm include repairs and additional workers to restore the power lines.



The company has already filed a notice of intent with the Public Service Commission on Dec.31, according to the PSC. That means Entergy will have 60 to 90 days to file the general rate increase application with the commission.



"We will look at total overall cost, a timetable on recovering that cost. Ultimately it had to be done. And you want to make sure, despite Mother Nature, you're able to minimize the impact on the customer's bill at the end of the day," said Julie Munsell, spokesperson for Entergy Arkansas.



Incurred costs with this storm include more than 5,000 line crews, their transportation and lodging, along with repairs and equipment. All of these items will be added to the bill for rate payers.



"Ultimately the Public Service Commission has to give the utility permission to recover those costs from rate payers," Munsell said.



Entergy customers could see an increase at the very end of this year, or early in 2014 for the winter storm after a process that takes roughly 10 months.



"Allowing direct testimony, rebuttal testimony, etc," said David Slaton, the Chief Administrative Law Judge for the Public Service Commission.



He said there is no cap, no limit on what Entergy can request.



"The commission is always certainly very, very sensitive to rate shock and trying to maintain rates as low as possible. Yet, providing adequate income to provide for reliable and safe utility service," Slaton said.



The company is still recovering from an ice storm in 2009, a bill which totals $126.3 million. Each Entergy customer is currently paying an additional 92 cents for that bill.



It is still unclear how much more will be added to the electric bills following the blizzard in December 2012.


Twitter: @BuhrmanM

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