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Mississippi Power wants to raise rates — but it’s not why you think

Mississippi Power has asked the Public Service Commission for a rate increase to cover fuel costs.
Mississippi Power has asked the Public Service Commission for a rate increase to cover fuel costs. AP 2012

Mississippi Power customers got an email Wednesday afternoon with some seemingly bad news.

The utility wants to raise rates, but not for the reason you’d expect.

On Nov. 15, Mississippi Power filed a request with the Public Service Commission asking for an increase of $6.45 per month for residential customers using 1,000 kilowatt hours of energy. To put that into perspective, the average U.S. home used 901 kilowatt hours per month in 2015, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The increase is not to cover the ever-increasing cost of the frequently delayed Kemper County plant. That sort of increase is called a base increase, and the utility hasn’t asked for one since 2013.

This increase is part of an annual adjustment — required by state law — that the utility makes based on fuel costs.

Last year, customers actually saw a reduction of an average of $19.52 on their bills because fuel costs had dropped.

“By law, the company does not make any profit on fuel, passing these energy costs directly through to customers,” the email says.

The utility says it has not asked for a fuel increase since 2009.

“Mississippi Power employees are meeting the challenge of managing business costs while providing industry-leading service and reliability for our customers,” said spokesman Jeff Shepard.

The request must be reviewed and approved by the Public Service Commission. Customers who aren’t signed up for paperless billing will see a notice about the rate increase with their next bill.

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