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A New Solid South

Where Entergy leads, will Wal-Mart follow?

Fortnightly Magazine - May 2005

important, just listen to the response from the region's (and the world's) largest commercial retailer.

Wal-Mart Comes Calling

No one has more to lose from high energy prices that retail behemoth Wal-Mart. The company is one of the largest consumers of electricity in the nation's 50 states. Last year, for example, Wal-Mart spent over $1 billion on electricity nationwide, and expects the costs to continue to rise in 2004 and beyond at a rate significantly in excess of its building space growth rate.

In papers filed with the state PSC, Wal-Mart argues that a "properly structured" retail access plan in Arkansas can offer lower-cost power for large electric users, plus gains in generating efficiency and improvements to "overall business productivity and competitiveness."

Wal-Mart draws on its own direct experience for these conclusions, as the company says it already participates in competitive electric markets in various parts of the country. Certainly, if Wal-Mart can see the benefits of competition, than so can most other industrial and commercial customers.