As a resident of the Coast for most of my 75 years, my roots go deep.
My father, H.E. Blakeslee Jr., served as the outside commissioner for the city of Gulfport for 24 years. I know the Coast. It is home.
For four decades, I had the privilege of working for Mississippi Power. I know firsthand the complexities of keeping the lights on. I also know the commitment the company and employees have to our customers. Mississippi Power is still doing what it is supposed to do -- keeping the lights on and serving the customers well.
Remember names like Katrina, Georges, Elena and Camille? In each case, power was restored quickly. In each case, Mississippi Power was instrumental in rebuilding communities, not just the power grid. After Katrina, Mississippi Power earned USA Today's story titled "The Little Company that Could." It still can.
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Mississippi Power has always been at the forefront of moving our state and our region forward. The list is long, and the effort is significant. It will continue.
The Kemper County investment has generated much discussion. New generation is sometimes necessary and always expensive. Least cost fuel options are not easily discerned. Future generation decisions of necessity are far reaching.
In 1995, then-PSC Commissioner Curt Hebert said, "The successful utility of the future will be the utility that makes the best use of technology. It is prudent to suggest that utilities take advantage of technology to generate and deliver electricity." Mississippi Power is doing just that.
H.E. "ED" BLAKESLEE III