JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Power bills will be going up in February for customers of Entergy Mississippi and Mississippi Power Co.
The Public Service Commission voted 2-1 Tuesday to allow each company to raise rates to recover higher natural gas costs from 2013 and higher projected costs in 2014. State law allows utilities to recover fuel costs without collecting any profit.
Rates for an Entergy residential customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt hours per month would rise 4.1 percent. Customers using that much electricity will see their bills rise from $103.87 per month now to $108.08.
Rates for a Mississippi Power residential customer who uses 1,000 kwh per month would rise 2.6 percent, from $137.41 to $140.91.
Northern District Commissioner Brandon Presley, a Democrat, opposed the increases, saying customers shouldn't have bills raised in advance to cover projected fuel prices.
"It shouldn't be a cash advance," he said. "It should be a reimbursement."
Central District Commissioner Lynn Posey and Southern District Commissioner Steve Renfroe supported them.
"We're always concerned, but most of that has been in reference to fuel adjustment," said Posey, a Republican.
In 2013, according to the federal Energy Information Administration, the average Entergy residential customer used about 1,250 kwh per month, while the average Mississippi Power customer used more than 1,100 kwh per month.
Mississippi Power's rates are higher than Entergy's because of a combination of factors, including rate increases imposed last year for the $5 billion coal-fueled plant that it's building in Kemper County. Mississippi Power customers will see rates rise 3 percent this month as the second half of a Kemper-related rate increase, after they rose 15 percent last year. That separate Kemper increase is pushing bills up more than $4 a month for 1,000 kwh customers.