Long Beach, MS
February 26, 2012
Real capitalism involves risk. Unfortunately, the Public Service Commission of Mississippi has absolved Mississippi Power of all risk in their building of the Kemper County Coal Plant. In June of 2010, the Public Service Commission, including the Coast’s commissioner, Leonard Bentz, approved the financing of the 2.88 billion dollar coal plant by the ratepayers. The ratepayers will be paying higher electricity bills for power yet to be used. This is like asking future customers to finance the startup of a company before consuming any of its products. The real kicker is that if this experimental plant does not produce as planned, we still have to pay for its construction plus a profit. And it is indeed experimental. While not fundamentally against new technologies, I am against absorbing the risk of new technologies without my consent.
In May of 2010, all three commissioners voted to cap the financing at 2.4 billion. This was not enough for MS Power. A month and a letter from Governor Barbour later, the Commission said that 2.88 billion dollars was acceptable. Could the vote switch be because one of Barbour’s current clients is A Southern Company?
Also, natural gas has never been cheaper. According to the Wall Street Journal, the price of natural gas is down 32% from last year and is expected to stay there for two years. Unfortunately, no risk equals no incentive to keep costs low, hence coal instead. Casinos, Ingalls, and other big businesses are exempt from this rate-hike which passes more of the expense to small businesses and residences.
The Mississippi Supreme Court is reviewing the Commission’s vote. Please call Mr. Bentz and ask questions. We can influence our government. Our elected officials do listen.
Lastly, Brandon Presley, the one consistent “no” vote, called this thing “Socialism for the rich.” Well, its definitely not capitalism.
To contact Leonard Bentz to voice your concerns: