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Could the new tax law lower your electric bill? The Public Service Commission wants to know.

Mississippi Power crews work to repair lines near the corner of DeBuys Road and Pass Road in April 2017. The state Public Service Commission is investigating whether customers of Mississippi Power and other utility companies may be able to get a rate reduction thanks to the new federal tax bill passed in December.
Mississippi Power crews work to repair lines near the corner of DeBuys Road and Pass Road in April 2017. The state Public Service Commission is investigating whether customers of Mississippi Power and other utility companies may be able to get a rate reduction thanks to the new federal tax bill passed in December. amccoy@sunherald.com File

Several companies raised their employees’ pay and gave bonuses after passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act , and now the Mississippi Public Service Commission is looking into whether utility rate reduction could be coming to Mississippians under the provisions of the new law.

The PSC announced Wednesday it has requested the Public Utilities Staff investigate the possibility of rate reductions for investor-owned utilities such as Mississippi Power and Entergy, along with gas utilities such as CenterPoint Energy.

A rate reduction could offset part of the 8.5 percent rate hike Mississippi Power filed with the PSC in December. The company is asking for a 4.5 percent fuel adjustment rate increase and an additional 4 percent to cover the cost of doing business.

Under the bill passed by Congress in December, these investor-owned utilities pass their federal income tax charges along to their customers as a cost of providing service. The utilities’ tax rate was reduced from 35 percent to 21 percent. With the reduction in those costs, the PSC said in a press release, rate reductions could flow to Mississippi customers.

“Mississippi utility customers deserve to see their power and gas bills reduced when utilities’ costs are reduced,” said PSC Chairman Brandon Presley. “These dollars rightfully belong in the hands of Mississippi’s working families and businesses.”

Southern District Commissioner Sam Britton said, “Simply put, this tax reduction means a rate reduction for ratepayers. And keeping more money in the pockets of Mississippians is a good thing.”

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