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You Could Be Owed Money: Electric Power Associations Fail to Return Cash or Drop Rates

JACKSON, Miss.–If you get your electricity from an electric power association, you could be owed some money, said Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley. He said Monday that the associations have failed to reimburse customers over $114 million.

Unlike some of the big electricity corporations like Entergy or Mississippi Power, it is customers who own Mississippi’s 25 electric power associations (EPAs). When they have excess money, it is supposed to go back to you, either by cutting you a check or by dropping rates.

Presley said that several of the associations are holding back. He called out Twin County Electric Power Assoc. as the one with the most cash not returned.

According to Twin County’s latest filing with the Commission, it holds over $33 million in capital credit funds, but returned none to its members,” said Presley in a news release.

“While everyone recognizes that power associations need to have rainy-day funds, there simply is no excuse for not returning excess dollars above and beyond that to the customers. It seems that some have been following the law and some haven’t. It’s time to get the customers’ money back in their pockets.”

Presley said that some have been following the law, though.

This is from Presley’s news release:

“Some Mississippi power associations have demonstrated a commitment to follow the law and return money to members. Those associations should be commended for doing the right thing even when most of their peers have not been.”

As reported to the Commission, the state’s 25 power associations accumulated funds totaling $161,807,074.14 in the last filing year. Of those, only 7 returned a total of $47,046,381.00 to their customers in the last reported year due to excess funds. Those associations who returned dollars to customers were Coast EPA ($13,270,686.00), Delta EPA ($3,886,754.00), Dixie EPA ($7,628,627.00), Magnolia EPA ($1,809,466.00), Pearl River Valley EPA ($8,807,708.00) Singing River EPA ($11,443,129.00), and Southwest Mississippi EPA ($200,011.00)

Presley said that his office gathered data through data filed with the PSC, as well as from data filed with other state and federal agencies. Presley cited Twin County Electric Power Association as the most egregious example. According to Twin County’s latest filing with the Commission, it holds over $33 million in capital credit funds, but returned none to its members.

The failure of electric cooperatives to return member funds is not a problem limited to Mississippi. A recent, widely circulated essay by U.S. Representative Jim Cooper of Tennessee has revealed failures across the nation. Cooper warns that most electric cooperatives sit on tens of millions of dollars in capital credits with members seeing no benefits. Consequences of a failure to properly return funds to members includes possible loss of tax exempt status, which would have a significant negative impact on ratepayers in Mississippi. Power Associations serve approximately 85% of the state’s land mass 50% of the electric meters in Mississippi, the vast majority of which are residential customers.

“I am determined to see that customers get the money that they deserve.” Presley concluded.

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