The Mississippi Supreme Court has accepted briefs filed by three Mississippi business organizations asking the court to rehear a case on Kemper rates.
Gulf Coast Business Council, the Mississippi Economic Council and Mississippi Manufacturers Association cited concerns about damage to the state’s economy and business climate in their requests for the rehearing, according to a press release.
“Reconsideration is especially important for the Gulf Coast economy as businesses across the region have planned, budgeted and based contract pricing on the certainty established by the PSC plan,” said Jack Norris, president of the Gulf Coast Business Council. “Our strengthening economy may well suffer if lower cost achieved by the PSC’s original order is nullified.”
The Public Service Commission approved a 15 percent increase for Mississippi Power ratepayers in 2013 followed by a 3 percent increase in 2014.
In a 5-4 ruling in February, the Supreme Court said the PSC erred in granting the increase and directed the company to refund money.
“The February 12th ruling by the Court, if upheld, erases a carefully studied, structured and conservative rate plan,” said Jay Moon, president of the Mississippi Manufacturers Association. “We are firm in our belief that the Mississippi Public Service Commission acted correctly in establishing a structured ‘escrow’ approach to fund this project. The PSC’s model set forth a controlled, 24-percent rate increase and without the PSC plan, a rate increase that could reach 40 percent or more is a grim possibility.”
Blake Wilson, president of the Mississippi Economic Council, said the acceptance of the filing is critically important.
“Mississippi cannot afford to return to an outdated and more costly system of funding utility plant construction — a system other states left behind years ago,” he said. “If not overturned after rehearing, not only we can expect significantly higher monthly bills for customers but also to experience a chilling effect on our economic competitiveness.”