GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Mississippi Power on Friday announced an agreement concerning the remaining costs associated with its Kemper County plant. If approved by the Public Service Commission, it will mean customers won't see a rate increase related to Kemper.
In fact, this settlement means Mississippi Power customers would see about a 1 percent decrease on power bills. That's roughly $1 a month saved for residential customers using 1,000 kWh of electricity.
"This agreement represents significant compromise from all parties involved, but is an important step to settle all costs remaining on the Kemper project," said Mississippi Power President and CEO Anthony Wilson. "Putting the gasifier portion of Kemper that did not meet our expectations behind us is in the best interest of our customers, company and the state. We are pleased to continue operating an efficient natural gas facility at Kemper which has been serving our customers for more than three years."
The settlement agreement is with the Mississippi Public Utilities Staff, Chevron and Federal Executive Agencies. Mississippi Power officials say it meets the directives issued by the Public Service Commission, including:
- The removal of risk to Mississippi Power customers for the gasifier and related assets.
- No customer rate increase related to Kemper.
- Operation of Kemper as a natural gas facility.
"If this stipulation is approved, we expect significant changes to our business," said Wilson. "As we adjust to this considerable loss of revenue, our top priority will be to maintain safe and reliable service to our customers."
The company currently expects a final order on Kemper from the Public Service Commission in January.
Because the settlement takes the gasification portion of the Kemper plant off the table, it allows Mississippi Power and the PSC to focus on core business issues, issues such as the two rate increases Mississippi Power recently requested. The company says its potential 8.5 percent bump in power bills is based on daily maintenance issues and fuel costs.
A Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into Mississippi Power and its parent company, Southern Company, over the Kemper plant was also impacted by the settlement. After the settlement was reached, SEC staff notified Southern Company and Mississippi Power its investigation was closed and it would not recommend enforcement action.