Mississippi Power files for rate increase

Mississippi Power files for rate increase
(Photo source: file)

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Your power bill could be going up soon. Mississippi Power filed this week asking the Mississippi Public Service Commission to raise rates two percent to cover the costs of complying with state and federal environmental regulations. If approved, that would add $4.48 to the average customer's monthly bill.

This increase comes on top of the $4.60 per month added to bills this month to cover increasing fuel costs. The PSC approved that request last month. Fuel costs are passed on directly to customers dollar-for-dollar. In the past, however, there have been decreases due to dropping fuel costs. Mississippi Power reduced bills twice in 2016 when fuel prices dropped and raised them once in 2017.

Another rate hike could be coming, as well. Mississippi Power filed its annual business costs rate request with the PSC in November. However, the PSC must still consider that request, and the amount of the possible increase hasn't been determined.

"This is an annual filing we make to ensure compliance with state and federal environmental regulations," company spokesman Jeff Shepherd. "Mississippi Power complies with all applicable state and federal environmental statutes and regulations in the most cost-effective manner."

In January, the PSC told all utilities to review rate requests after the federal tax law changes went into effect. The changes reduced the utility tax rate from 35% to 21%.

At the time, PSC Chairman Brandon Presley said, "Mississippi utility customers deserve to see their power and gas bills reduced when utilities' costs are reduced. These dollars rightfully belong in the hands of Mississippi's working families and businesses."

The increases requested have nothing to do with the Kemper County plant. In its Kemper settlement agreement, Mississippi Power agreed to not pass any costs of the Kemper facility related to the gasifier onto customers. In fact, after the Kemper settlement, customers' bills were reduced $3.15 month.

Copyright 2018 WLOX. All rights reserved.