Attorney: Mississippi PSC could compel Kemper manager to testify

Robert Wise, who’s practiced before the PSC since 1985, said the commission could seek out the testimony of Southern Company Services employee Brett Wingo, the project manager for the gasification island for Mississippi Power’s Kemper Project power plant.

Wingo was muzzled by a temporary restraining order from speaking out about the embattled power plant where he worked, starting in 2011, after his employer filed a lawsuit against him in Jefferson County (Ala.) Circuit Court. The lawsuit — filed in the same county where the Southern Company’s subsidary, Alabama Power, is headquartered — alleges Wingo agreed to a settlement where he’d receive money to keep quiet after leaving his job over allegations the employee made against his employer.

The Southern Company is also the parent company of Mississippi Power.

That agreement with the Southern Company doesn’t include the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and, according to Wise, the Mississippi PSC as well.

“The Commission’s authority over the electric utilities it certifies and regulates is very broad,” Wise said. “The Commission also has broad authority to investigate, hear and determine, ‘such findings as may be supported by proof as to whether any utility holding a certificate under the provisions of this article is rendering reasonably adequate service in any area covered by such utility’s certificate.’

“Certainly if Mr. Wingo has any information concerning the safety of the operation of Kemper as a lignite syn gas plant, the Commission has full jurisdiction over Mississippi Power Company to find out what that concern is.”

MS WATCHDOG
3/12/15