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Cochran: PSC may not OK Mississippi Power rate increase

By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
Nov. 10, 2001
JACKSON Public Service Commission Chairman Nielson Cochran said Friday he believes it's unlikely that Mississippi Power Co. will receive approval to raise electric rates 9.5 percent.
With the economy performing poorly, Cochran said, Mississippi Power Co. couldn't have "picked a more horrible time to request rate relief."
Mississippi Power filed a petition in August with the PSC, seeking a 9.5 percent rate increase. Cochran and the other commissioners will approve or deny the proposal based on findings from the hearing.
Cochran, who represents Meridian as the Central District commissioner, said the PSC is expected to decide the rate issue by Dec. 3. If the PSC approves an increase, it likely would take effect in January.
Residential service for 1,000 kilowatt-hours now costs about $80 a month; a 9.5 percent increase would raise the price to $87.60 a month. Mississippi Power serves 191,000 customers across Meridian and Southeast Mississippi.
Mississippi Power officials say the rate increase they requested is needed to fund operations for continued service and to give investors added incentives so the company can compete in today's market.
Cochran said commissioners expect four or five additional exhibits to be filed by Nov. 20. They also await legal documents from each company and organization that testified at the public hearing in opposition to the increase.
And, Cochran said, he has asked Mississippi Power for the exact cost of operating the two new generation units at its power plant and the revenue they would need from customers to cover the cost.
Cochran said he believes commissioners will be
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3275, or e-mail her at