January 17, 2018 11:01:34 AM
JACKSON -- Customers of Mississippi's two privately owned electrical utilities will see higher rates starting in February.
The Mississippi Public Service Commission voted Tuesday to approve rate changes for Entergy Corp. and Mississippi Power Co.
Customers of New Orleans-based Entergy, serving the western half of the state, will see rates rise 10 percent because of higher costs for fuel and other items, while Mississippi Power ratepayers from Meridian to the Gulf Coast will see rates rise 4 percent.
Brandi Myrick of the Public Utilities Staff said a residential Entergy customer who uses 1,000 kwh of electricity per month will pay $114 in February, up from $104 now. The typical Mississippi customer uses more power than that in the average month.
Most of the money will go to pay for fuel costs, although there are four smaller adjustments also being made to Entergy bills. The companies estimate their fuel costs from year to year, and Entergy underestimated in 2017, which means customers must make up the deficit. Once the deficit is paid, more than half the overall increase is supposed to roll off bills in July. That will save the yardstick residential customer $5 a month, cutting such a bill to $109 a month.
Myrick said Entergy's revenues are projected to increase by about $67 million over the next year because of the changes.
Mississippi Power customers will also pay more because of higher fuel costs, with a yardstick residential customer paying $4 more a month, bumping bills to $130 a month, compared to $126 now. Changes are projected to increase revenue by $39 million for the unit of Atlanta-based Southern Co.
Some additional relief could be on the horizon for customers, though. The commission on Tuesday also ordered the state's private utilities to file plans within 30 days on how they would pass through lower federal corporate tax rates to customers.
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