GULFPORT, Miss., Dec. 3, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the Mississippi Public Service Commission approved an agreement that will lower bills and provide an additional credit to Mississippi Power customers. The PSC approved the agreement by a vote of 3-0.
The decision comes after an agreement reached last month between Mississippi Power and the Public Utilities Staff regarding permanent rates associated with parts of Kemper that are currently in operation and have been serving Mississippi Power customers for more than a year. The vote by the PSC finalized that agreement.
As part of the agreement:
- Kemper rates will be reduced for residential customers by approximately $4.70 below the current interim rate increase for a residential customer using 1,000 kWh a month. This will be applied to bills beginning with the first billing cycle in January.
- Mississippi Power will credit back to customers the difference between the interim rates collected since August and the permanent rates in the agreement. This will result in an approximate average $22 one-time credit to residential customers' bills within 90 days.
"We want to thank the PSC and the Public Utilities Staff for their hard work in coming to an agreement with Mississippi Power on the in-service Kemper assets, which have been supplying customers with electricity for more than a year," Mississippi Power CEO Ed Holland said. "This ensures we can continue the progress we have made to bring the Kemper facility fully online. With this decision, Mississippi Power can proceed with some certainty and stability while providing our customers with safe, clean and reliable electricity."
The company also has filed a request to further reduce customers' bills as part of its annual fuel filing. The company has asked for an approximate $13.70 reduction for a residential customer using 1,000 kWh a month.
"These reductions, along with the refund we have already provided customers, will lower customers' bills significantly," Holland said. "We are committed to providing affordable and reliable electricity to our customers and believe this will have a positive effect not only on individual households, but also on southeast Mississippi."
The basis of the PSC order is Kemper's combined cycle portion of the plant, which has been in service since August of 2014, providing electricity safely and reliably to Mississippi Power customers. In its first year of operation, the combined cycle unit has generated more than 3.5 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, enough to power the needs of approximately 250,000 homes for a year.
Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), produces safe, reliable and environmentally responsible energy for more than 186,000 customers in 23 southeast Mississippi counties. Mississippi Power earned the 2015 ReliabilityOne™ Award for outstanding midsize utility for excellence in storm restoration and recovery efforts as well as being a leader in reliability, customer service and safety. Visit our websites at mississippipower.com and mississippipowernews.com, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Certain information contained in this release is forward-looking information based on current expectations and plans that involve risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking information includes, among other things, statements concerning the expected impact of the agreement regarding permanent rates. Mississippi Power cautions that there are certain factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking information that has been provided. The reader is cautioned not to put undue reliance on this forward-looking information, which is not a guarantee of future performance and is subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside the control of Mississippi Power; accordingly, there can be no assurance that such suggested results will be realized. The following factors, in addition to those discussed in Mississippi Power's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014 and subsequent securities filings, could cause actual results to differ materially from management expectations as suggested by such forward-looking information: state and federal rate regulations and the impact of pending and future rate cases and negotiations; the impact of recent and future federal and state regulatory changes, including legislative and regulatory initiatives regarding deregulation and restructuring of the electric utility industry, environmental laws including regulation of water, coal combustion residuals, and emissions of sulfur, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, soot, particulate matter, hazardous air pollutants, including mercury, and other substances, and also changes in tax and other laws and regulations to which Mississippi Power is subject as well as changes in application of existing laws and regulations; current and future litigation, regulatory investigations, proceedings, or inquiries, including Federal Energy Regulatory Commission matters and Internal Revenue Service and state tax audits; the effects, extent, and timing of the entry of additional competition in the markets in which Mississippi Power operates; variations in demand for electricity, including those relating to weather, the general economy and recovery from the last recession, population and business growth (and declines), the effects of energy conservation and efficiency measures, including from the development and deployment of alternative energy sources such as self-generation and distributed generation technologies, and any potential economic impacts resulting from federal fiscal decisions; available sources and costs of fuels; effects of inflation; the ability to control costs and avoid cost overruns during the development and construction of facilities, which include the development and construction of generating facilities with designs that have not been finalized or previously constructed, including changes in labor costs and productivity, adverse weather conditions, shortages and inconsistent quality of equipment, materials, and labor, contractor or supplier delay, non-performance under construction or other agreements, operational readiness, including specialized operator training and required site safety programs, unforeseen engineering or design problems, start-up activities (including major equipment failure and system integration), and/or operational performance (including additional costs to satisfy any operational parameters ultimately adopted by the Mississippi Public Service Commission ("PSC")); the ability to construct facilities in accordance with the requirements of permits and licenses, to satisfy any environmental performance standards and the requirements of tax credits and other incentives, and to integrate facilities into the Southern Company system upon completion of construction; advances in technology; actions related to cost recovery for Mississippi Power's integrated coal gasification combined cycle project in Kemper County, Mississippi (the "Kemper IGCC"), including the ultimate impact of the 2015 decision of the Mississippi Supreme Court, the Mississippi PSC's August 2015 interim rate order, the stipulation between Mississippi Power and the Mississippi Public Utilities Staff, and related legal or regulatory proceedings, Mississippi PSC review of the prudence of Kemper IGCC costs and approval of permanent rate recovery plans, actions relating to proposed securitization, the ability to utilize bonus depreciation, which currently requires that assets be placed in service in 2015, satisfaction of requirements to utilize investment tax credits and grants, and the ultimate impact of the termination of the proposed sale of an interest in the Kemper IGCC to South Mississippi Electric Power Association; the ability of counterparties of Mississippi Power to make payments as and when due and to perform as required; the ability to obtain new short- and long-term contracts with wholesale customers; the direct or indirect effect on Mississippi Power's business resulting from cyber intrusion or terrorist incidents and the threat of terrorist incidents; interest rate fluctuations and financial market conditions and the results of financing efforts; changes in Mississippi Power's credit ratings, including impacts on interest rates, access to capital markets, and collateral requirements; the impacts of any sovereign financial issues, including impacts on interest rates, access to capital markets, impacts on currency exchange rates, counterparty performance, and the economy in general; the ability to obtain additional generating capacity at competitive prices; catastrophic events such as fires, earthquakes, explosions, floods, hurricanes and other storms, droughts, pandemic health events such as influenzas, or other similar occurrences; the direct or indirect effects on Mississippi Power's business resulting from incidents affecting the U.S. electric grid or operation of generating resources; and the effect of accounting pronouncements issued periodically by standard setting bodies. Mississippi Power expressly disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking information.
SOURCE Mississippi Power