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.
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.
What you pay on your monthly electric bill is determined by who is your supplier. The only choice for the customer is to move to an area serviced by a provider with lower rates.
Entergy doesn’t want the Commission to have discretion over whether documents are either revealed to all intervenors under protection of a non-disclosure agreement or simply put into the public debate arena.
The Kemper Plant was designed to maximize capital investment so as to maximize the company’s rate of return on capital from ratepayers in the form of rate hikes. Confidentiality of certain key documents played a major role in the plant clearing several early regulatory hurdles. Changing the process by which documents are kept out of the public eye will be essential to preventing another Kemper like disaster from happening again.