MS Power: New rate hike request will not affect customer refunds - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

MS Power: New rate hike request will not affect customer refunds

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) -

Mississippi Power wants a new rate increase to pay for its Kemper County lignite plant, but company officials say that request will not affect the refunds ordered by the state Supreme Court. 

The company filed paperwork Friday with the Mississippi Public Service Commission, asking for an increase of about 18 percent, the same amount currently on customer’s bills.

Mississippi Power says a new rate hike is justified, because a portion of the plant is already up and running and has been producing electricity for nearly a year. 

Earlier this year, the Mississippi Supreme Court declared that rate increase illegal and ordered refunds. Tuesday, the PSC ordered Mississippi Power to issue refund checks or bill credits in the amount collected from customers since 2013 in order to comply with the Supreme Court ruling.

Mississippi Power said this plan would keep customer rates at their current levels until a complete rate plan for the Kemper project can be approved.

In a news release, Mississippi Power CEO Ed Holland said this new rate is needed to improve the company's financial strength.

"Unfortunately, recent legal and regulatory decisions involving Kemper have greatly impacted and weakened the credit quality of Mississippi Power," said Holland.

Holland said filing for the new rate increase will not affect the refunds customers are expecting or increase power rates from their current levels.

The PSC would have to approve Mississippi Power’s latest request.

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