March 16, 2012 9:51:50 PM
Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley called the Mississippi Supreme Court's Thursday reversal of a lower courts ruling approving construction of a Kemper county coal plant a "major victory" for Mississippi Power Company customers.
In a 9-0 decision, the state Supreme Court reversed a decision allowing Mississippi Power to proceed with construction of a Southern Company $2.8 billion coal gasification project in Kemper County, noting the Mississippi Public Service Commission's May 2010 approval of the project does not satisfy state law. The case has been sent back to the PSC.
"In this case, Mississippi Power Company gave new meaning to the phrase, 'We got the gold mine, they got the shaft.'," Presley said Thursday. "I've argued consistently that customers of Mississippi Power Company have been mistreated by the company hiding rate impacts, in this case, and by putting their shareholders above their customers.
"This plant is untried technology," he continued. "The shareholders have no risks, while the customers have all the risks, along with a 45-percent rate hike, to boot. The company also wanted to raise rates, before the plant produced any electricity. I believe in pay-as-you-go (philosophies); I just don't believe you should pay before you go."