Mississippi Power proposes 8.5% increase in electric bills

Mississippi Power proposes 8.5% increase in electric bills

JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - Mississippi Power filed two rate increase requests Wednesday with the Public Service Commission.

The first request is for a potential 4 percent bump in your power bills. That rate increase request is called a Performance Evaluation Plan, better known as a PEP filing.

The PEP concentrates on what it costs Mississippi Power to maintain poles, wires, and substations; the equipment that keeps electricity flowing to your homes. Mississippi Power hasn't requested a PEP increase from the PSC since 2013.

In a news release from Mississippi Power announcing the rate hike requests, CEO Anthony Wilson said, "We have been able to provide our customers with industry-leading customer service and performance without asking for a rate increase over the last four years."

Rate increase number two is the annual fuel filing. If it's approved, it will also add 4.5 percent to your monthly power bills.

The Mississippi Power news release notes the fuel filing is not unusual. Each year, the company explains, the PSC adjusts Mississippi Power's prices up or down to reflect changes in the cost of fuel used by the company to generate electricity

So, what do the rate increase requests mean for your family? If your Mississippi Power bill is currently $200 a month, the potential increases might raise that bill to $217 a month.

"While our employees have found efficiencies in our operations company-wide," Wilson said, "these filings are necessary to deliver the level of service our customers expect."

The Public Service Commission should consider the new rate requests at its next meeting. If they're approved, we're told you'll likely see the increases on your power bills in February or March.

One important note. The increases requested Wednesday have nothing to do with Kemper County. In its Kemper settlement agreement, Mississippi Power agreed to not pass any costs of the Kemper facility related to the gasifier onto customers.

What Mississippi Power is waiting to hear is how much money it must pay out of its own pockets to cover the costs associated with Kemper County construction. The company agreed to write off $6 billion. The public utilities staff wants it to pay another $200 million.

A Public Service Commission hearing Dec. 4 will ultimately determine the lignite plant's final cost.

Again, whatever that total is, it won't be passed on to Mississippi Power customers.

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