A 9.5 percent rate hike for electricity is justifiable, according to officials from Mississippi Power. Company spokesman Kurt Brautigam says that just as with all other business, Mississippi Power Company is facing rising operating costs.
"All of our operations, as well as our wages and every other aspect associated with our business has gone up, so it's very much the same as any company who must raise their cost a little bit to their customers in order to remain a viable entity," Brautigam said.
But members of the Mississippi Manufacturers Association say 9.5 percent is not a little bit. In fact, it's a tremendous increase that business owners say could have an equally enormous effect.
"A couple of our folks may pay as much as a million dollars more for their electricity," association member Jerry McBride said. "The small guys, proportionally, would be effected and manufacturing is in a recession right now so it's causing a lot of concern."
The state has already lost 10,000 thousand manufacturing jobs this year alone. The Mississippi Manufacturers Association says such a rate hike could bring even more layoffs.
Mississippi's Power's last rate hike was for only one percent. The Public Service Commission hearing on the 9.5 percent proposed increase will run through the end of the week. Commissioners will make a decision some time next month.
By Iris Keogh