Miss. Power seeks permission to recoup from ratepayers $45,000 payment to MEI
Mississippi Power Co. filed as part of its most recent list of business expenses a $45,000 payment to the Mississippi Energy Institute.
Utilities routinely file the expenses with the Mississippi Public Service Commission, asking regulators to allow them to include the expenses in their rate base. That would essentially pass them on to ratepayers.
Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley said in an interview Thursday morning that Mississippi Power Co. should not be allowed to recoup from ratepayers the payment to MEI. “It’s ridiculous they’d include that,” he said of the payment. The MEI, an energy policy think tank, is one of the primary supporters of a plan to store and transport nuclear waste in Mississippi. Presley has spent the past week opposing the plan.
Jeff Franklin, Mississippi Power’s VP of customer service organization, sits on MEI’s board of directors.
Presley said MEI’s support of the nuclear storage proposal amounted more to lobbying than developing energy policy. He said he plans to try to exclude the payment from the utility’s rate calculations at the PSC’s Sept. 10 meeting. He added that state law prohibits lobbying fees from being included in utilities’ customer rates.
Mississippi Power spokesman Keith Guillot said in an email Thursday afternoon that utility officials “believe our contribution to MEI is consistent with the purpose of furthering economic development.”