State needs consumer advocate at Public Utilities Staff » Mississippi Business Journal
June 23, 2011 Leave a comment
In efforts to safeguard against corruption, the state Legislature made the Utilities Staff independent of the Commission. But they didn’t designate a watch dog for the Utilities Staff.
We argue that in its failure to put an effective method of oversight in place, the Legislature put the brakes on the Commission while turning the Utilities Staff into a potential runaway train, as evidenced by the recent Kemper County clean coal plant docket.
Mississippi’s consumer has no advocate.
The rate impact issue
In the Kemper County docket, where Mississippi Power Company requested approval to build the largest utility project in more than 20 years at $2.4 billion, no one was looking out for the consumer interest.
The Utilities Staff made the determination that Mississippi Power Company could file ratepayer impacts of the plant confidentially. Commission rules of practice and procedure did not expressly forbid hiding rate impacts, so they let it go.