PSC orders rebate for Mississippi Power customers - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

PSC orders rebate for Mississippi Power customers

Tuesday morning in Jackson, the PSC gave Mississippi Power 14 days to provide a plan on how to deliver the refunds. After that, opponents will have seven days to object. A final ruling will come at the PSC's meeting August 4. (Photo source: WLOX) Tuesday morning in Jackson, the PSC gave Mississippi Power 14 days to provide a plan on how to deliver the refunds. After that, opponents will have seven days to object. A final ruling will come at the PSC's meeting August 4. (Photo source: WLOX)
JACKSON, MS (WLOX) -

Customers of Mississippi Power will soon have $350 million coming back to them. Tuesday, the state Public Service Commission ordered the company to give back rate increases that began in 2013. 

The PSC originally granted the rate increase to help pay for construction of the Kemper County plant now under construction. But a ruling by the state supreme court last month said those increases were not allowed. 

It's up to customers how they will receive the rebate: A one time check or a credit on future bills. 

"I fully support the credit or check option in letting the ratepayers choose," said Southern District PSC Commissioner Steve Renfroe.  

Commissioners also ordered the company to audit the rebate process.  Commissioner Brandon Presley was specific as to the reason why.
 
"We've got to make sure we get those dollars back to the people that paid it and we don't cheat anybody out of their $500 or $600 just because we're trying to rush into getting this done."

The company has 14 days to submit a plan.  If it's approved at the commission's August 6 meeting, Mississippi Power has 90 days to complete the process. Company officials did not get exactly what they wanted.  

"We believe, and have stated before that if there is to be a refund, and of course there is now, that a credit on the bill would be the safest and quickest way to get that credit to the ratepayer," explained Lee Youngblood with Mississippi Power.

Even with the rebate, a request for another rate increase to pay for Kemper is certainly on the way.  But it's not a done deal, according to Renfroe.  
"Now we faced with the possibility of a 40 percent. I'm not pre-judging whether I'd vote on that or not. I am suggesting that there is a risk of that neither one of those being approved," Renfroe said.

While members of the state Public Service Commission and Mississippi Power company officials say they are pleased with Tuesday's ruling, that this is something they can live with, the man who started this whole process, the man who took this case all the way to the state supreme court, was ecstatic. That man is Tom Blanton.  

"This is a big step forward. This is what should be done. I am so happy that the Public Service Commission took the supreme court's orders seriously, are moving forward with refunding these funds," Blanton said.

The PSC also ordered the 18 percent rate hike that's been in effect for about two years to be taken off customer bills effective with the next billing cycle that begins on July 20.

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved. 

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