PSC says Mississippi Power can pass on Kemper County construction - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

PSC says Mississippi Power can pass on Kemper County construction costs, but not until 2012

JACKSON, MS (WLOX) -

JACKSON, MS (WLOX) – The Mississippi Public Service Commission met today and modified the restrictions it placed on Mississippi Power. That could make it easier for Mississippi Power to build a new lignite plant in Kemper County.

The PSC told Mississippi Power its constructions can be no more than $2.88 billion. And they can only go that high if the power company can prove that concrete, steel and other building costs went up.

Commissioners also changed their minds by agreeing that Mississippi Power can pass on its construction costs to ratepayers, but not until January 1, 2012. By then, the PSC expects the new power plant to be out of the ground.

Today's vote was 2-1 in favor of the modifications.

The Public Service Commissioner from south Mississippi is Leonard Bentz. He voted for the changes. "I can tell you this, the order we approved today is an indication to the financial markets that they can move forward with it," he said. "We put some regulations on them. But we did what we're supposed to do, protect ratepayers at the end of the day.

We're still waiting to hear from Mississippi Power officials to get their reaction to the modifications. In April, they said the PSC restrictions made it impossible for the company to build a new power plant.

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