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State Orders Mississippi Power to Refund Rate Hikes
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 Mississippi Power customers will soon get a substantial refund from the utility provider. As MPB’s Paul Boger reports, the power company’s 18 percent rate increase has been deemed illegal and must be rolled back.

The state Public Service Commission has ordered Mississippi Power Company to develop a plan to refund customers for an 18 percent rate hike.

According to a recent ruling by the state Supreme Court, the commission should have first held a hearing to determine whether the power company was spending money in a prudent manner before approving the rate increase in 2013. 

Brandon Presley represents Mississippi’s Northern District and is the only commissioner to vote against the rate hikes.

"We have $335-350 million, it could be more than that by the time we get down to this date, and we need to have a proper accounting of that money and make sure every penny gets back into the hands of people that paid these rate increases," Presley says.

The rate increase was originally put in place as part of an effort to recoup money the company has spent on the controversial Kemper Coal Plant. The completion of which has been delayed several times and cost overruns have reached into the billions.

But despite the Commission’s order to refund the current rate increase, Mississippi Power spokesman Lee Youngblood says plans are already underway to continue recovering the money.

“As you know we filed a number of rate recovery plans,” Youngblood says. “The whole rate recovery issue for Kemper has to be dealt with. We do plan to move forward with rate recovery proposals in the future.”

Mississippi Power will have until next month to decide whether they will refund the money as a lump-sum check or bill credit. However, efforts are already under way to recover money spent on the Kemper project.

It is believed that the average residential customer will receive between 500 and 600 dollars.