Some customers think any power rate increase is unacceptable - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Some customers think any power rate increase is unacceptable

Tony Burch, Mississippi Power Co. customer (Photo source: WLOX) Tony Burch, Mississippi Power Co. customer (Photo source: WLOX)
Joy Domin, Mississippi Power Co. customer (Photo source: WLOX) Joy Domin, Mississippi Power Co. customer (Photo source: WLOX)
John Gautreaux, Mississippi Power Co. customer (Photo source: WLOX) John Gautreaux, Mississippi Power Co. customer (Photo source: WLOX)
Janie Koch, Mississippi Power Co. customer (Photo source: WLOX) Janie Koch, Mississippi Power Co. customer (Photo source: WLOX)
John Kirk, Mississippi Power Co. customer (Photo source: WLOX) John Kirk, Mississippi Power Co. customer (Photo source: WLOX)
SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) -

Mississippi Power has submitted three rate hike proposals to the Public Service Commission to recoup the cost of building the Kemper County power plant.

The company prefers the option in which the company keeps the rebates that are due customers to help manage future power rate increases. Under the company's preferred option, power bills could increase from 22 to 24 percent.

The company said the other options that consider rebate distribution could raise rates up to 39.5 percent. Those rebates were collected by the company since 2013.

The Supreme Court ordered the money, to the tune of $257 million, to be paid back to customers, although that order has been challenged.

Some customers think this preferred plan is really the lesser of three evils.

“I would rather them keep the money and keep the rates down,” said Tony Burch, of Pass Christian. “But I fail to see how they can justify the amount of overrides they have on raising the budget of this thing. It's gone way, way, way over budget, and it keeps going up. When is it going to stop?”

Joy Domin, of Ocean Springs, said enough is enough.

“The rates are already high now, because in the summertime, I pay almost $500 a month just for a 2,400 square foot home,” Domin said.

John Gautreaux, of Picayune, thinks it's a good idea.

“What you're going to get back, not going to be a much big deal,” Gautreaux said. “I'd rather they keep the rates lower. In the long run, I think you're going to come out better if you keep the rates a little bit lower."

Jamie Koch, of Pass Christian, disagrees.

“They probably need to refund the people that are expecting that back, because some people may not be here, and they're not going to be using it for the new rates anyway,” said Koch. “You don't have another alternative except solar, and they don't give you a subsidy on it. So, that would be great if they could do that.”

John Kirk is generally skeptical.

“I just want to make sure that yes, this is going to work for us, decrease our energy costs but also, you know, how long is this going to last,” Kirk said. “Are the increases going to keep coming up, or do they know? That kind of bothers me.”

The current cap for what Mississippi Power can collect from customers to pay for the construction has been set at around $2.8 billion.

The company would have to absorb any additional cost overruns on the facility.

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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