PSC’s Bentz wants to put off rate hike, but it’s coming

He said Mississippi Power has approval to begin in 2012 charging Mississippi customers for the Kemper County plant, which will cost ratepayers 20 to 33 percent, depending on how it’s calculated.

n Bentz said the Kemper rate hike will be 20 to 28 percent over the life of the plant.

n Mississippi Power said the $2.4 billion project will cost ratepayers a gradual increase over the next 10 years, peaking at 33 percent.

Either way, Bentz said he wants to wait and see the final federal Clean Air requirements before approving the rate increase for the emissions project at Plant Daniel.

However, he said, the PSC knows it’s coming.

The aging plant has two units that burn coal, and the EPA is requiring that they emit fewer contaminants.

Mississippi Power went before the PSC this week and outlined what it expects the project to cost — roughly $625 million, to be shared with its counterpart in Florida.

“It’s not even remotely in the approval stage,” Bentz said Thursday. “Let’s see what the (federal government’s) rules are going to be before we start spending some money,” he said. He said they are due by November.

Sun Herald
1/28/11