The Southern Company’s dream of a multi-billion plant to transform lignite into electricity will be history in four short years. According to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the gasifiers and chemical plant will be scrapped by 2024. Remediation of the Liberty lignite mine will be completed this year.
What’s wrong with how Mississippi regulates electricity rates? The short answer: No one in the process represents only the customers – the everyday Mississippians who pay their electric bill.
A hoax is a humorous or malicious deception. A scam is a dishonest scheme or swindle. It’s a hoax for profit. Hoaxes have made fools of the unwary, and scams have taken unwitting victims for a long time. How do you avoid getting taken? Cicero asked: Cui bono — Who benefits?
Regulated monopolies are largely protected from competition and are great for their shareholders. Not so great for their customers though. Especially if the regulator (the Public Service Commission) has its thumb on the scale for the monopoly.
This version of Stein’s Law could be about lots of long running Ponzi schemes. But this is about Mississippi Power’s Kemper County Lignite Plant’s big brothers — two nuclear power plants (Vogtle) under construction in Georgia and their Southern Company daddy. And about regulatory systems that prop up an archaic business model that puts interests of utilities and their shareholders ahead of customers.
What if you went to court and were told your attorney would have to represent both you and your opponent – even though your opponent had a whole army of his own attorneys? That’s basically the setup for the state agency that regulates how much you pay for electricity and other utilities.