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Power rates to jump 2 percent

By By Terry R. Cassreino/The Meridian Star
Dec. 4, 2001
Mississippi Power Co. customers will pay about 2 percent more for electricity beginning in January.
Mississippi Public Service Commissioners announced today they approved a 2.23 percent rate increase for Mississippi Power significantly less than the 9.5 percent raise originally requested.
The average Mississippi Power residential customer pays about $80 a month for 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity. After the rate increase takes effect, the PSC said those same customers will pay about $82.70 a month.
Mississippi Power serves about 191,000 customers in cities and towns throughout 23 Southeast Mississippi counties including the city of Meridian and portions of Lauderdale County.
First increase since 1996
Mississippi Power originally filed a petition in August with the PSC, seeking a 9.5 percent rate increase. The 2.23 percent increase was the company's first since the PSC approved a 1 percent raise in 1996.
Company officials originally said they needed a 9.5 percent rate increase to help fund capital improvements.
Mississippi Power recently spent $400 million to build two new electric generating units at its Plant Daniel in Jackson County. Plant Daniel supplies electricity to Mississippi Power's service area.
Mississippi Power spokesman Kurt Brautigam learned about the PSC decision today. He said he hasn't had a chance to study the PSC's 26-page "final order" allowing the rate increase.
Monday's meetings
Public Service commissioners originally had hoped to announce their decision sometime on Monday. At one point, the three commissioners had considered an afternoon news conference.
Instead, Central District Commissioner Cochran, Southern District Commissioner Michael Callahan and Northern District Commissioner Bo Robinson met most of the day discussing and studying the Mississippi Power case.
They finally agreed to the amount of the rate increase late Monday and officially announced it today.
Terry R. Cassreino is assistant managing editor of The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3232, or e-mail