MISSISSIPPI PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION APPROVES NET METERING PROGRAM

sierra-club-wilderness-imagePRESS RELEASE

Thursday, December 3, 2015 

Contact: 

Jessica Herrera, jessica.herrera@sierraclub.org, (520) 260-1725

Louie Miller, louie.miller@sierraclub.org, (601) 624-3503 

JACKSON, Miss. — The Mississippi Public Service Commission voted today to approve a net metering program that will lay the groundwork for rooftop solar and distributed renewable energy development across the state. Prior to the vote, Mississippi was one of only six states in the United States without a net metering program.

The commission’s decision will establish how rooftop solar owners can be compensated for extra energy they produce that is put into the power grid. 

In response to the vote Louie Miller, State Director of the Sierra Club’s Mississippi Chapter, issued the following statement: 

“We applaud the commission’s vote today to move Mississippi into the clean energy future. With net metering plans, we open up endless opportunities to develop homegrown, renewable energy programs. Rooftop solar will jump start the renewable energy sector of our economy, diversify Mississippi’s energy mix, and protect our economy against fossil fuel fluctuations all while lowering our dependence on dirty forms of energy.

“Having a strong, local source of energy will also create thousands of new, good-paying jobs and lower our electric bills. That’s the kind of economic relief Mississippians could really use right now.

“The vote comes just days after another cost-overrun announcement from the Kemper power plant boondoggle. It’s clear projects like this are dirty, expensive and unnecessary, and the budding Mississippi renewable energy sector is the way of the future.”

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Regulators mull objections over Mississippi Power rate increase – Watchdog.org

PROGRESSIVE ACTIVISTS VOICE

Photo by Mississippi Power

OVERHEAD VIEW: The Kemper Project’s multi-billion dollar cost is a key issue in the upcoming election for three Public Service Commission members.

by Steve Wilson

December 1, 2015

“Four intervenors in the battle over the controversial Kemper Project “clean coal” power plant have filed objections with regulators over a possible deal that would reduce a Mississippi Power rate increase by 3 to 5 percent.

The Mississippi Public Service Commission received the objections from intervenors Thomas Blanton, who ran unsuccessfully for the PSC Southern District seat this year, and a joint brief filed by Chevron, several federal agencies and Greenleaf CO2 on Nov. 24. The group asked the PSC to reconsider giving Mississippi Power $126 million per year in rate increases to help cover costs on the components of the Kemper Project generating power on natural gas since 2014. That’s $32 million less than what the company asked for at…

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New Public Service Commissioner, Cecil Brown, Says “Thank You”

Dear Friends,

“Thank you for electing me to be your Central District Public Service Commissioner.  I am honored by your support.

As we discussed throughout the campaign, the decisions the Commission makes affect the lives of virtually every Mississippian.  Among other responsibilities, the Commission oversees utility rates and service, the issue of net metering for solar installations and the abuse of the telephone no-call list.  And the new Commission will have to deal with the serious financial situation surrounding Mississippi Power Company’s very expensive Kemper Electric Power Plant.

I look forward to working with the other two Commissioners and the very competent Public Utilities Staff to address those challenges.  In particular, as I pledged during the campaign, I will not vote for rate increases to pay for mistakes that have been made on the Kemper Power Plant. 

Thank you again for your confidence.  If I can help you in any way, please let me know. “

Yours,
Cecil Brown

 

Why Your Vote for Tom Blanton for Public Service Commissioner is Important to YOU!

The vote for Southern District Public Service Commissioner on November 3, 2015 is one of the most important votes you will cast.  This brief summary of the qualifications and performance of TOM BLANTON in his constant effort to reduce the electricity rates of Mississippi Power has been well demonstrated. 

Only one man in Mississippi had the courage to stand up to Mississippi Power. Only one man stood alone to protect the people of the Southern District from illegal rate hikes. Only one man, at his own expense, took his lawsuit to the Mississippi Supreme Court to overturn the 18% Kemper rate hike.

Tom Blanton photo from Facebook pageWho is Tom Blanton? He is an independent businessman who opposed the illegal rate increase by Mississippi Power.

He filed an appeal to the Mississippi Supreme Court opposing the 18 percent Mississippi Power Kemper rate increase approved by the Public Service Commission (PSC) in 2013. And, earlier this year, against all odds and the predictions of political pundits and insiders, he won that appeal in the Mississippi Supreme Court. He won a $350,000,000 refund for the Mississippi Power ratepayers in South Mississippi.

Yes, that’s $350 million dollars! For the 186,000 ratepayers in the Southern District that get their power from Mississippi Power!

He’s the only candidate who will hold Mississippi Power and other utility companies accountable to the citizens and ratepayers in the state of Mississippi. And, if need be, make them pay instead of you.

Though running on the Democratic ticket, Tom has received rare endorsements from at least two distinguished Republicans who have served in top positions representing the State Republican Party.  Those endorsements can be observed in detail from the links below:  (Click on titles to see entire endorsement)

Ambassador Mike Retzer,Former Republican State Party Chairman, Ambassador to Tanzania Supports Tom Blanton for PSC

“All of my adult life, I have been a loyal Republican, a supporter of Republican Candidates as well as an early leader of our Republican party in Mississippi. I have served as Republican State Party Chairman on two occasions, as Treasurer of the National Republican party and as George W. Bush’s Ambassador to Tanzania. I am a party loyalist and proud of it, but this year is different.

This year I am supporting a Democrat, Tom Blanton for the Public Service Commission. I am supporting Thomas Blanton because I am fearful of where Mississippi Power and the current Public Service Commissioners are taking our state. The Kemper coal‐fired power plant was originally estimated to cost us $1 billion. That alone was a hefty price tag, but now the cost of the same plant has grown to over $6 billion and is still increasing. Worse yet, we haven’t received the first watt of power from this financial monster intended to work with “coal gasifiers”.

 

Former Republican State Chairman Clarke Reed Endorses Tom Blanton for Public Service Commissioner

“My name is Clarke Reed. I am from Greenville, Mississippi. I am the second State Chairman of the Republican Party in modern times and have been active in Republican leadership roles since the early 60s.  For the first time in my 87 years, I am supporting a Democrat, Tom Blanton, Democratic candidate for Public Service Commission (PSC) in the Southern District. 

This is the only office Tom has ever run for and ever will.  He filed the lawsuit against the Kemper power plant with his own money, “one man, one meter,” to reverse the PSC outrageous rate hike of nearly $350 million dollars.  Just the first part of this rate hike is being returned to the ratepayers and it amounts to as much as $650 per household on the average.  Many industries and businesses I know received well over $150,000.  That should be a clue to just how much money will be sucked from ratepayers by this colossal boondoggle.”

 

SunHerald article, 

“Two Former GOP Chiefs, Angry About Kemper, Endorse Democrat Blanton”

 

ON NOVEMBER 3, VOTE FOR TOM BLANTON, DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FOR PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSIONER, SOUTHERN DISTRICT!

 

This blog post prepared voluntarily by Thomas O. Baldwin,  Biloxi, MS.  doctom2010@yahoo.com

 

 

Ambassador Mike Retzer,Former Republican State Party Chairman, Ambassador to Tanzania Supports Tom Blanton for PSC

Retzer photoAll of my adult life, I have been a loyal Republican, a supporter of Republican Candidates as well as an early leader of our Republican party in Mississippi. I have served as Republican State Party Chairman on two occasions, as Treasurer of the National Republican party and as George W. Bush’s Ambassador to Tanzania. I am a party loyalist and proud of it, but this year is different.

This year I am supporting a Democrat, Tom Blanton for the Public Service Commission. I am supporting Thomas Blanton because I am fearful of where Mississippi Power and the current Public Service Commissioners are taking our state. The Kemper coal‐fired power plant was originally estimated to cost us $1 billion. That alone was a hefty price tag, but now the cost of the same plant has grown to over $6 billion and is still increasing. Worse yet, we haven’t received the first watt of power from this financial monster intended to work with “coal gasifiers”.

With our current group of go along public service commissioners, the future is clear, Mississippi Power customers will eventually have some of the highest power rates in the nation. Industries that would like to locate in our communities will look at the cost of power and go elsewhere. Companies currently located in south Mississippi may relocate their plants to more business friendly locations.

I am disappointed that my Republican Party colleagues have been part of this looming disaster, and it is my hope that party leaders in the legislature and Governor’s office will soon see the error of their ways before the public decides that many more Democrats like Thomas Blanton need to be elected.

I hope you will join me on Election Day and vote for a better future for Mississippi. Vote to replace your Public Service Commissioner. Vote FOR Thomas Blanton, Democrat.

Ambassador Mike Retzer

Former Republican State Chairman Clarke Reed Endorses Tom Blanton for Public Service Commissioner

Clarke Reed Photo

October 27, 2015

My name is Clarke Reed. I am from Greenville, Mississippi. I am the second State Chairman of the Republican Party in modern times and have been active in Republican leadership roles since the early 60s.  For the first time in my 87 years, I am supporting a Democrat, Tom Blanton, Democratic candidate for Public Service Commission (PSC) in the Southern District. 

This is the only office Tom has ever run for and ever will.  He filed the lawsuit against the Kemper power plant with his own money, “one man, one meter,” to reverse the PSC outrageous rate hike of $275 million dollars.  Just the first part of this rate hike is being returned to the ratepayers and it amounts to as much as $650 per household on the average.  Many industries and businesses I know received well over $150,000.  That should be a clue to just how much money will be sucked from ratepayers by this colossal boondoggle.

If Mississippi Power, through the PSC, is successful in making Mississippi ratepayers pay for the whole $6 billion Kemper plant, the annual cost will be far more than $1,000 per household per year.

These high electricity rates will cause residents and businesses to leave and will discourage new ones from coming to our state. It will be an economic disaster.

The problem goes beyond the PSC, where I hope we can prevail.  The State Republican Leadership seems dug in to the proposition that the ratepayers should pay the six billion dollar cost of the Kemper Plant.  If the leadership stays dug in, the members of the legislature will follow because they are dependent on the leadership for their own positions, not the voters that elected them. This must not happen.

Atlanta-based Southern Company, corporate parent of Mississippi Power Company, proposed this boondoggle. Southern originally estimated its cost at one billion dollars.  Now it’s a six billion and growing.  Outrageously, the higher it goes, the more Southern Company will benefit because state law gives them a guaranteed rate of return on “prudently” invested assets. There was nothing prudent about Kemper and the PSC should deny prudency, getting ratepayers off the hook. That’s why the election of Tom Blanton to the Public Service Commission is crucial.

It is also imperative that we elect Republican Brent Bailey to the PSC in the second district. He has been right on Kemper for years. His opponent voted consistently in the legislature for the laws that make the Kemper boondoggle possible.

If Southern gets its customary eight percent equity plus five percent interest return on the entire Kemper cost, billions upon billions will leave Mississippi for Atlanta. That’s over $750 million a year, a seventh of Mississippi’s general fund budget. The payments will continue for 40 years, keeping Mississippi down for decades. It makes my heart sink to think about it.

Our economy cannot stand such a shock, but our political leadership seems committed to the proposition that we will have to do so.  Tom Blanton has paid for and protected us so far at the Mississippi Supreme Court.  He needs to be elected and perhaps we can prevail in changing our leaderships’ minds or defeating them on Kemper.

If Southern Company really believes in their technology, let them own the Plant they are trying to politically force Mississippi to buy.  If the Plant works, let us buy energy from them at market rates.

Clarke Reed

 

 

D’Iberville native is new Mississippi Power president by Mary Perez via Twitter

October 19, 2015

“Anthony Wilson was named president of Mississippi Power on Monday and on Jan. 1 he will take over the duties of chief executive officer from G. Edison Holland Jr.

Holland will remain chairman of the company and will continue to oversee the completion of the Kemper County energy facility, which is scheduled to occur by June.

Holland also will become president and CEO of Southern Co. Holdings and executive vice president of Southern Co. Services on Jan. 1.

Holland had served as executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary for Southern Co. before becoming president of subsidiary Mississippi Power in May 2013. He has overseen the final phases of construction at the Kemper plant and told the Sun Herald he is confident the technology will work.

Southern Co. Holdings is responsible for the licensing and marketing of the Transport Integrated Gasification technology being deployed at the Kemper facility designed to convert lignite into affordable energy for Mississippi Power customers.”

“Having Anthony return home earlier this year has been a tremendous addition to Mississippi Power and has allowed me the needed time to focus on bringing Kemper online,” Holland said. “His expanded leadership role is the next step in our succession plan. This ensures a seamless transition as we continue to focus on our customers and our future, while embracing our important role in growing the economy of southeast Mississippi.”

A native of D’Iberville, Wilson began his career at Mississippi Power in 1984. He worked in several leadership positions at Georgia Power before returning to South Mississippi this year. He was named executive vice president of operations in May and was responsible for the company’s overall operations, including customer service, distribution, transmission, generation, marketing, community relations and corporate services.

Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Mississippi State University and an MBA from the University of Southern Mississippi. He also is a graduate of Oxford University’s Advanced Management Program and has served in many community, charitable and professional roles.”

Read more here:

http://www.sunherald.com/news/business/article40232940.html…

Anthony Wilson was named president of Mississippi Power on Monday and on Jan. 1 he will take over the duties of chief executive officer from G. Edison Holland Jr.
SUNHERALD.COM