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PSC, Miss. Power Reach Settlement Over Kemper Co. Plant

By Daniel Cherry | Published 24 Jan 2013 07:24pm | comments
Mississippi Power and the Mississippi Public Service Commission have reached a deal opening the possibility for rate increases to fund a multi-billion dollar power plant in Kemper County. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports...
 
Mississippi Power customers won't haave to pay the full cost of building a coal power plant in Kemper County. Public Service Commissioners voted 2-1 yesterday to cap the cost to ratepayers at $2.4 billion dollars...less than the projected $2.8 billion. Southern District Commissioner Leonard Bentz calls the settlement a victory for energy independence and for Mississippians.
 
"I think it's the best deal for the ratepayer and it's the best deal for the state of Mississippi. What we've done today is we have ratepayer assurances. We've held the $2.4 billion cap intact."
 
Commissioners did not promise to approve a rate increase for Mississippi Power customers, it only capped how much customers can be charged. It also provides ratepayers with a 10 percent royalty if the company has success marketing the carbon dioxide extracting technology in the plant.
 
"We would get 10% of the profits over a 30 year period, and that's huge. If this technology takes off then that's going to benefit Mississippi (Power) ratepayers and Mississippians in general."
 
"Look, if the technology doesn't work, that's not much of a deal is it?" says Louie Miller, Executive Director of the Mississippi Sierra Club. He's opposed the project all along, saying the technology is untested and unreliable. He's also not happy with the short notice of the hearing...especially since the state Supreme Court was scheduled the hear the case this Monday.
 
"The shenanigans of the Public Service Commission on behalf of two of the commissioners in holding this meeting with less than 24 hours notice. And this is clearly designed to be an end-run around the (state) Supreme Court."
 
Thursday's settlement technically resolves the lawsuit by Mississippi Power against the commission, but the court can still move ahead with hearing the case if justices feel inclined.

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