Both Southern company and Mississippi Power are being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The investigation taking a peek at the price tag of the Kemper County plant. So far, the costs of construction have been picked up in the raise of electricity rates and state funding. Jeff Shephard with Mississippi Power says he doesn’t expect this probe to have much impact on the money situation.
The Mississippi Public Service Commission approved an agreement in December, lowering bills and providing an additional credit to Mississippi Power customers. The PSC approved the agreement by a vote of 3-0.
The decision came after an agreement reached in November between Mississippi Power and the Public Utilities Staff regarding permanent rates associated with parts of Kemper that are currently in operation and have been serving Mississippi Power customers for more than a year. The vote by the PSC finalized that agreement.
As part of the agreement:
• Kemper rates will be reduced for residential customers by approximately $4.70 below the current interim rate increase for a residential customer using 1,000 kWh a month. This will be applied to bills beginning with the first billing cycle in January.
• Mississippi Power will credit back to customers the difference between the interim rates collected since August and the permanent rates in the agreement. This will result in an approximate average $22 one-time credit to residential customers’ bills within 90 days.
“We want to thank the PSC and the Public Utilities Staff for their hard work in coming to an agreement with Mississippi Power on the in-service Kemper assets, which have been supplying customers with electricity for more than a year,” Mississippi Power CEO Ed Holland said. “This ensures we can continue the progress we have made to bring the Kemper facility fully online. With this decision, Mississippi Power can proceed with some certainty and stability while providing our customers with safe, clean and reliable electricity.”
The company also has filed a request to further reduce customers’ bills as part of its annual fuel filing. The company has asked for an approximate $13.70 reduction for a residential customer using 1,000 kWh a month.
“These reductions, along with the refund we have already provided customers, will lower customers’ bills significantly,” Holland said. “We are committed to providing affordable and reliable electricity to our customers and believe this will have a positive effect not only on individual households, but also on southeast Mississippi.”
The basis of the PSC order is Kemper’s combined cycle portion of the plant, which has been in service since August of 2014, providing electricity safely and reliably to Mississippi Power customers. In its first year of operation, the combined cycle unit has generated more than 3.5 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, enough to power the needs of approximately 250,000 homes for a year.