JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - Bills for Mississippi Power customers will soon be a few dollars lighter. Tuesday, the Mississippi Public Service Commission approved the power company's request to remove a $3.45 monthly system restoration charge dating back to 2006.
When Hurricane Katrina made landfall on Aug. 29, 2005, it destroyed Mississippi Power's ability to produce energy for its customers. All 195,000 customers lost service, according to the company.
"The destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina surpassed anything we could've imagined, but the efforts of the 12,000 people who helped us get service back to our customers will never be forgotten," Mississippi Power President and CEO Anthony Wilson said.
In 2006, the Mississippi Legislature passed the Hurricane Katrina Utility Customer Relief and Electric Utility Restoration Act to finance restoration efforts through low-interest bonds.
Federal grants paid for more than half of the $300 million in uninsured loses. The act passed by the legislature allowed the power company to recoup $121 million from ratepayers.
"Following the storm, Mississippi Power had the privilege of working with state and federal leaders, the Mississippi Bond Commission, the Mississippi Public Service Commission and our legislature to come up with a reasonable plan to avoid an extreme rate increase that would have otherwise impacted our customers," Wilson said.
Mississippi Power repaid the bonds in full nearly two years before the 12-year time limit was up. Mississippi Treasurer Lynn Fitch said paying off the bonds will not only decrease rates for Mississippi Power customers, but it will also decrease the debt for Mississippi taxpayers.
"Because of this collaborative effort, not only will their bills be smaller, but the total debt resting on the shoulders of Mississippi taxpayers will be smaller, too," said Fitch.