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Business groups file briefs in support of Kemper coal plant rehearing

Kemper-Update-Logo_rgbBy JACK WEATHERLY
Three business-support groups have filed briefs with the Mississippi Supreme Court, asking for a rehearing of the case in which a rate increase for Mississippi Power Co. customers was reversed and a refund ordered.
The Mississippi Economic Council, the Mississippi Manufacturers Association and the Mississippi Gulf Coast Business Council are seeking to get another review of the 24 percent increase associated with the Kemper County “clean-coal” power plant.
Jay Moon, president and chief executive of the manufacturers’ group, said that the increase, if not allowed, could grow to 40 percent when it is imposed.
The Baseload Act of 2008 allows utilities to start collecting costs from ratepayers even before a facility starts producing power.
Blake Wilson president and chief executive of the Mississippi Economic Council, said in a news release that “the Legislature created the opportunity for keeping monthly bills lower by allowing to project to be funded over more years.”
The court let the law stand, but said that the Public Service Commission erred in the way it went about granting the increase.
Mississippi Power and the PSC have appealed the decision, but the court has yet to say whether it will rehear the case.
“The Mississippi Legislature created a more affordable approach for funding construction of new and technologically advanced utility plants, like Kemper, so that Mississippi could continue to move forward,” Wilson said.
Critics of the project — whose cost has risen from the original $2.8 billion to $6.2 billion — are skeptical that the first-of-its-kind facility will actually work.

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