JACKSON, Miss. - Considering its age, Entergy is looking pretty spry. During 2013, Entergy Mississippi, Inc. celebrates its 90th anniversary, while Entergy Corporation marks a century of serving customers. Entergy Mississippi officially began operations in April, 1923.
Not too shabby for a company that started with a simple handshake over a pile of sawdust in 1913. Back in the day, Arkansas industrialist Harvey C. Couch cut a deal with H.H. Foster, president of the Arkansas Land and Lumber Company. Foster had a lumber plant that produced excess sawdust. Couch offered to buy that sawdust, burning it to power two 550-kilowatt generators.
Within 10 years, Couch's Arkansas Power Company expanded its operations across the state line, and Mississippi Power and Light Company was born. Ever since, the company has played a major role in Mississippi's economic growth and development.
"During the past 90 years, Entergy Mississippi has made history, again and again, in helping to build this state," said Haley Fisackerly, Entergy Mississippi, Inc. president and CEO. "From attracting industry to recovering after catastrophic events like the 1979 flood, the people of this company have played a key role in moving our state forward."
Highlights of Entergy Mississippi's history include:
Helping the war effort. In 1941, the company quickly built new substations and transmission lines to support local plants supplying the war effort. The company also became the first organization in the state to adopt the U.S. Treasury's voluntary payroll allotment plan, providing for salary and wage deductions for the purchase of War Bonds.
Developing Mississippi's economy. In 1949, the company established the "Helping Build Mississippi Club," an economic development organization comprised of business owners and state leaders. Within a year of its founding, the club boasted more than 5,000 members and was active in early pro-business efforts. Groups like these laid the foundation for Entergy Mississippi's later work in economic development, which included playing a key role in attracting a Nissan plant to Canton in 2003. The facility employs 4,350 Mississippians and has an annual payroll of more than $200 million.
Planning for the future. When Entergy Mississippi constructed Grand Gulf Nuclear Power station, it ensured a long-term, clean, reliable source of power for Mississippians. The plant, which underwent a major upgrade in 2012, currently generates the lowest-cost power available to Mississippi customers. Entergy Mississippi continued its forward-thinking traditions with the recent purchase of the environmentally-friendly Hinds Energy Plant, which will help keep both energy costs and emissions low.
Responding to emergencies. In 1979, employees stacked sandbags 10 feet high to fight Pearl River floodwaters and keep power flowing in downtown Jackson. Twenty-six years later, the heroic efforts of Entergy Mississippi employees during Hurricane Katrina restoration earned national praise and garnered top industry awards for storm response.
Offering a hand up. The company's history shows an unwavering commitment to helping its most vulnerable customers. Entergy has created a variety of programs to aid customers in need, including emergency bill-payment assistance and the distribution of free weatherization materials. In addition, Entergy Mississippi's philanthropic efforts have funded a wide variety of programs that enhance quality of life for Mississippians, supporting everything from early childhood education to college scholarships.
"Through their hard work, our nearly 2,000 employees and 700 retirees living in Mississippi have accomplished so much for our state," added Fisackerly. "We look forward to many more years of enhancing our communities and serving our customers well."
Throughout the year, Entergy Mississippi will celebrate its birthday with a variety of activities that will enhance educational opportunities, conserve environmental resources and provide assistance to low-income customers.
Entergy Mississippi, Inc., which celebrates its 90th birthday this year, provides electricity to more than 437,000 customers in 45 counties. It is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation.
Entergy Corporation, which celebrates its 100th birthday this year, is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including more than 10,000 megawatts of nuclear power, making it one of the nation's leading nuclear generators. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.8 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of more than $11 billion and approximately 15,000 employees.