Company Asks Public Service Commission to Shield $5B Plant from Necessary Scrutiny
JACKSON, MS – Mississippi Power Company shocked consumers when it asked the Mississippi Public Service Commission Friday afternoon to block the Sierra Club from participating in the proceedings to determine how much customers should pay for the company’s over budget, months-delayed Kemper County coal plant. The proceedings, known as prudency review, are the only opportunity for consumer advocates and the public to ask tough questions and challenge Mississippi Power’s attempts to charge customers billions for the coal plant. MPC has asked the Commission to kick the Sierra Club out of the proceeding, claiming that the Club has no right to participate.
“Mississippi Power’s actions show that they want to block the public from knowing the truth about the Kemper plant. The company wants to be the only one in the room when the PSC decides whether working families get stuck with billions of dollars in costs,” said Louie Miller, state director of the Mississippi Sierra Club. “This may be good for the company and its investors, but it’s bad for the ratepayer, and it’s not how a democracy works. Mississippi Power wants the PSC to be a good ole boys’ club, and we hope the PSC won’t let that happen.”
The Sierra Club has been the primary opponent of the Kemper plant and the only public interest organization to intervene in proceedings at the Public Service Commission since the plant was first proposed. Through Sierra Club’s presence at the Commission, Mississippi consumers have had greater access to information and the opportunity to make their concerns known. The Sierra Club also challenged the Commission’s initial approval of the plant, earning a unanimous decision by the Mississippi Supreme Court vacating the approval and ordering the Commission to justify its decision. A challenge to the second authorization is pending before the Supreme Court now, with arguments expected in spring or early summer.
“It’s easy enough to understand why Mississippi Power wants the Sierra Club and the public shut out of the process. The Sierra Club is asking the tough questions, and not allowing Mississippi Power to run roughshod over the law,” added Miller. “Trying to block the public and advocates from this proceeding shows again how desperate Mississippi Power is to put everything it can on the back of the ratepayer.”