Energy, ed bills prove divisive

Senate Bill 2793 gives public service commissioners the authority to grant rate hikes to utility companies during the planning and building of additional plants. Previously, rate increases could be granted only after plants are operating.

Entergy is considering building another nuclear plant next to Grand Gulf Nuclear Plant at Port Gibson at a projected cost of at least $5 billion. Mississippi Power is considering building a $1.8 billion coal plant in Kemper County.

But Northern District Commissioner Brandon Presley said, “We have to find out the truth before we go forward with any of this. You need to find out if you need something before you go out and buy it.”

The three commissioners have ordered the companies to submit documentation and proof by June 10 of their energy forecasts, plans and future power generation needs. Public hearings on the issue will begin Aug. 18.

Company officials say the financing method will prevent huge rate hikes after the plants are built. Critics say the plan offers few assurances ratepayers will be reimbursed if the plants are not built.

Also this year, teachers with between 25 and 35 years of experience will make more money under Senate Bill 2176.

The raises will be phased in over a two-year period. How much extra money a teacher receives depends on the teacher’s level, how many years he or she has invested and other factors.

Clarion Ledger