Mississippi Power Customers Prefer Checks For Kemper Refunds

JACKSON, MS (AP) — When it comes to refunds, most Mississippi Power Co. customers want a check.

         The unit of Atlanta-based Southern Co. said Monday that 110,000 customers had contacted it by Friday to ask that refunds be issued as checks, not as bill credits. Customers who didn't request checks will automatically get credits.

         The state Supreme Court ordered Mississippi Power in February to refund about $377 million to its 186,000 customers — money the court found was part of an illegal rate increase between April 2013 and July 2015. A residential customer who used 1,000 kilowatts per month for the entire 28-month period is expected to receive a refund of about $650.

- Sponsors -

         Friday was the last day to make a choice online of a check or credit, though customers can still call 1-800-532-1502 or visit a company office to request a check, spokesman Jeff Shepard said. Of the 125,000 customers who have contacted Mississippi Power, 88 percent wanted a check.

         Checks or bill credits will begin Nov. 9, and spokesman Jeff Shepard said all checks should be mailed out by Dec. 4. Bill credits will take longer to complete in most cases, because a typical residential credit is large enough to cover more than four months' worth of bills.

         For those who are no longer customers, the utility will mail a check to their last known address. Former customers can also contact the company to update their address. If a check is returned as undeliverable, Mississippi Power will call the customer's last known phone number. After six months, the company will hold the check in its unclaimed property unit — up to five years before it's turned over to the Mississippi state treasurer.

- Partner Content -

Entergy’s Energy Smart Program Brings Cost Conscious Innovation to New Orleans

Offering comprehensive energy efficiency at no cost to the consumer, Entergy’s Energy Smart program incentivizes Entergy New Orleans customers to perform energy-saving upgrades in...

         Mississippi Power has said it's borrowing the refund money from parent Southern Co., and the large number of checks could tighten the utility's cash crunch.

         After the company said it was strapped for cash, the Public Service Commission granted Mississippi Power an emergency 18 percent rate increase in August. That rate increase, the same size as the one the Supreme Court overturned, is meant to pay for equipment now generating electricity at the $6.3 billion plant.

         Hattiesburg oilman Thomas Blanton, the Democratic nominee seeking the Southern District seat on the Public Service Commission Tuesday, challenged the latter increase in court after fighting the initial one.

- Sponsors -

         On Thursday, a three-judge panel of the state Supreme Court refused to block the rate increase, saying a Nov. 10 PSC hearing can go forward. In a separate ruling, the panel found the time was unripe for it to rule on whether Central District Commissioner Lynn Posey, a Union Church Republican, can keep voting on matters related to Kemper rates.

         Blanton argued that Posey shouldn't be able to vote because in 2013 he took campaign contributions from 10 companies that Mississippi Power has paid to work on the plant. The commission ruled those contributions, contrary to Blanton's claims, didn't mean the vendors were acting as agents for Mississippi Power.

         – by AP Reporter Jeff Amy



Digital Sponsors / Become a Sponsor

Follow the issues, companies and people that matter most to business in New Orleans.

Email Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter