PSC Bentz Ruins Mississippi now is Promoted out of Accountability

Bentz leaving PSC to head South Mississippi Planning and Development District

Leonard Bentz

Leonard Bentz

JACKSON  — Leonard Bentz is leaving the state Public Service Commission to become executive of the South Mississippi Planning and Development District.

The board of the 15-county planning district voted yesterday to hire the Republican Bentz, paying him $150,000 a year.

Bentz, who made $78,000 per year representing the PSC’s Southern District, was chosen from among five finalists. He will have to resign his elected post on the three-member utility commission to accept the job.

Bentz is a former Harrison County deputy sheriff, former PSC utility investigator and a former member of the Mississippi House of Representatives.

Gov. Phil Bryant will appoint a successor.

Bryant spokesman Mick Bullock said the governor hasn’t officially been notified of Bentz’s departure and declined to comment on how or when the governor might replace him.

It wasn’t immediately clear when Bentz would resign. He and his spokeswoman did not return phone calls and emails from The Associated Press. The move to appoint Bentz had faced scrutiny in part because his father, Leonard Bentz Sr., is secretary of the planning district’s board. As part of the agreement to hire Bentz, his father agreed to resign, the Clarion-Ledger reported.

During the search, the district’s board altered its qualifications so that it could hire someone without a college degree, which Bentz doesn’t have.

The appointment comes at a crucial time for the power plant that Mississippi Power Co. is building in Kemper County. The total cost of the plant, including an associated mine and pipeline, is currently projected at $4.7 billion. Atlanta-based parent Southern Co. has agreed to shoulder about $1 billion of that cost, and another $1 billion is supposed to be diverted into bonds that customers will repay, but isn’t supposed to include profit for Mississippi Power.

But the Public Service Commission must approve the prudency of Mississippi Power’s spending, and opponents are pushing commissioners to reject as much spending as possible, which could force additional losses onto Southern Co. shareholders.

Bryant has been a supporter of the Kemper plant, testifying in favor of it before the PSC when it was originally approved, lauding it as part of his energy strategy for the state, and signing two bills this year that ratified a rate settlement between Mississippi Power and the PSC.

Any appointee would serve until after the 2015 state elections. Winning re-election could be tricky, though. Many House members from areas served by Mississippi Power voted against the settlement legislation that Bryant signed, betraying concern about being seen to support the Kemper project.

Kemper opponents called on Bryant to appoint someone willing to vote against Kemper.

“We call on Gov. Bryant to appoint a smart, experienced, and courageous commissioner who will make protecting Mississippi ratepayers her absolute priority — even if it means standing up to Mississippi Power,” Mississippi Sierra Club director Louie Miller said in a statement.

The three-member regulatory commission faces some other big decisions in coming months. For example, commissioners are likely to vote in September on whether to allow Entergy Corp. to spin off its transmission system to ITC Holdings Corp.

 

More here: http://msbusiness.com/blog/2013/08/08/bentz-leaving-psc-to-head-south-mississippi-planning-and-development-district/

Lignite Coal TAR – Additional 47% in Possible Tariffs Taxes and Regulation Fees Undisclosed

coal tar – China Customs duty & Tax coal tar Import tariff, page 1.

Want to tell you about an issue about the Kemper County Lignite Coal NO ONE is talking about, the TAR.  Whatever we do the TAR will be costly and has not been disclosed.  Lignite coal tar may have expensive tariffs, taxes, duty, and regulation according to this article.  No mater what we do with it, TAR will be regulated and MISSISSIPPI ratepayers and taxpayers will be responsible for these additional confidential – undisclosed costs.  Perhaps that is part of the Southern Electric’s/Obama’s phase 2, hit them with more money expenditures.  Some states openly expressed wishing they had not begun their Lignit Coal Ventures just for the unforeseen undisclosed costs that keep mounting.

The first example I found was if we want to ship the Lignite TAR to China there is 47% for various importing fees involved.  Even if we keep it local, it will still cost to store transport process regulate and monitor…

To see issues not addressed discussed and planned for exposes Kemper Coal Plant as a money mining project to bankruptcy or just complete federal government dependency.

Van Jones, Obama, DOE Dr Chu, PSC Leonard Bentz, PSC Lynn Posey, Gov Hayley Barbour, Mississippi Power, Southern Company,  and the most criminally involved manufacturing company KBR should be so very proud of their smooth operation past the blind people of Mississippi.

 

HS : 270600**

Description : Tar distilled from coal, from lignite or from peat, and other mineral tars, whether or not dehydrated or partially distilled, including reconstituted tar<<

 

Goods ever classified under this HS code :

crude tar ,ethylene tar ,high temperature coal tar <<

2011-2010 China custom duty of coal tar Search

Year MFN Gen VAT
2011
2010 1% 30% 17%

 

(End of sample for better viewing see original site)

http://tariff.e-to-china.com/tariff-coal-tar-d_3-t_1.html

 

HS : 6807

Description : Articles of asphalt or of similar material (for example, petroleum bitumen or coal tar pitch):

Goods ever classified under this HS code :

articles of coal tar pitch ,articles of asphalt ,articles of petroleum bitumen >>

HS : 270600**

Description : Tar distilled from coal, from lignite or from peat, and other mineral tars, whether or not dehydrated or partially disti… >>

Goods ever classified under this HS code :

crude tar ,ethylene tar ,high temperature coal tar <<

2011-2010 China custom duty of coal tar Search

Year MFN Gen VAT Consumption Tax
2011
2010 1% 30% 17%

HS : 380700**

Description : Wood tar; wood tar oils; wood creosote; wood naphtha; vegetable pitch; brewers, pitch and similar preparations base… >>

Goods ever classified under this HS code :

bamboo tar ,carbon tar ,coaltar pitch >>

2011-2010 China custom duty of coal tar Search

Year MFN Gen VAT Consumption Tax
2011
2010 6.5% 35% 17%

HS : 270799**

Description : Oils and other products of the distillation of high temperature coal tar; similar products in which the weight of the ar… >>

Goods ever classified under this HS code :

coal coke ,anthracene oil ,carbolic oil >>

2011-2010 China custom duty of coal tar Search

Year MFN Gen VAT Consumption Tax
2011
2010 7% 30% 17%

HS : 3208

Description : Paints and varnishes (including enam els and lacquers) based on synthetic polymers or chemically modified natu ral polym… >>

Goods ever classified under this HS code :

epoxy coal tar pitch anticorrosive coating ,tar polyurethane waterproof coating ,epoxy coating >>

HS : 270810**

Description : Pitch

Goods ever classified under this HS code :

coal asphalt ,coal pitch ,coaltar pitch >>

2011-2010 China custom duty of coal tar Search

Year MFN Gen VAT Consumption Tax
2011
2010 7% 35% 17%

HS : 2706

Description : Tar distilled from coal, from lignite or from peat, and other mineral tars, whether or not dehydrated or partially disti… >>

Goods ever classified under this HS code :

reconstituted tars ,tar

HS : 340220**

Description : Organic surfaceactive preparations, washing preparations (including auxiliary washing preparations) and cleaning prepara… >>

Goods ever classified under this HS code :

cleaning agent for coal tar ,coal tar cleanser ,cleaner for precise electric appliances >>

2011-2010 China custom duty of coal tar Search

Year MFN Gen VAT Consumption Tax
2011
2010 10% 80% 17%

HS : 270400**

Description : Coke and semicoke

Goods ever classified under this HS code :

coal ,coal coke ,coal coke carbon >>

2011-2010 China custom duty of coal tar Search

Year MFN Gen VAT Consumption Tax
2011
2010 0% 11% 17%

HS : 841459**

Description : Other

Goods ever classified under this HS code :

coal mine anti-explosion host-blade fan ,coal tar fan ,coal-fired hot blast fan >>

2011-2010 China custom duty of coal tar Search

Year MFN Gen VAT Consumption Tax
2011
2010 8% 30% 17%

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Brandon Presley: Consumers lost in Mississippi Power’s planned Kemper County plant | Better MS Report

Brandon Presley: Consumers lost in Mississippi Power’s planned Kemper County plant | Better MS Report.

From Better Mississippi Report:

JACKSON (Tuesday, July 6, 2010) – Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley says consumers lost in Mississippi Power Co.’s planned Kemper County coal plant because the utility doesn’t have to guarantee the technology behind the project will ever work.

Mississippi Power’s plant, the first of its kind in the world, will use a new technology that converts a soft coal called lignite into a gas to fuel turbines and create electricity. The concept is high risk because no one can guarantee that the technology to be used in the plant will work.

Presley said Gov. Haley Barbour and U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu sent letters asking for support of the Mississippi Power plant. But Presley voted in April and May against forcing Mississippi Power ratepayers to finance the plant.

“I received letters urging me to support the project from everyone from Gov. Barbour to Steven Chu, secretary of energy in the Obama administration,” said Presley, who represents the Northern District on the three-member PSC.

“If they thought it was such a good project, why didn’t they find a way to pay for it rather than forcing Mississippi Power’s customers to be the sole investors in the plant?” Presley told the Better Mississippi Report.

The PSC voted 2-1 in April to allow Mississippi Power Co. to build the Kemper County plant at a cost of no more than $2.4 billion. Commissioners said they would decide at a later date whether to grant Mississippi Power’s request for ratepayers to finance the plant before it begins operating.

Less than a month later in May, the PSC voted 2-1 to increase the cost cap of the Mississippi Power plant to $2.88 billion and also allowed the company to charge ratepayers for financing costs before the plant is completed.

Presley cast the sole no votes at the April and May meetings.

Presley, 32, a lifelong resident of Nettleton, is in his first term on the PSC – winning the position in 2007 after serving as mayor of Nettleton from 2001 to 2007. He talked about the Mississippi Power plant and other issues in an interview with the Better Mississippi Report.

Better Mississippi Group: You were the only member of the Mississippi Public Service Commission to oppose the Mississippi Power Co. plan to build a coal-burning plant in Kemper County. Can you explain your concerns about this proposal and why you voted against it?
Brandon Presley:
Very simple. Mississippi Power wanted the ratepayers to pay in advance hundreds of millions of dollars in financing costs and then $2.4 billion (now up to $2.88 billion) for the plant itself, and after hours and hours of sworn testimony and days of hearings they would not, and to this day, still will not, guarantee their new technology to be used in this plant will work.
If I had voted yes for this plant, I would have been a part of forcing ratepayers in one of the poorest states in the nation to pay, in advance, for something the company can’t even guarantee will work and that was, obviously, a big concern to me. I strongly support innovative technology, and I have a deep admiration for the scientists and engineers who bring about groundbreaking ideas that could make our lives better. But I believe the companies themselves and private sector investors should be willing to take some of the risks and not force all the risk on ratepayers who don’t have a choice in their providers. Remember, customers of Mississippi Power can’t choose who provides their electricity. They must use Mississippi Power or be in the dark, literally. So they are now being forced, via their electric bill, to invest in this plant.
I received letters urging me to support the project from everyone from Gov. Barbour to Steven Chu, secretary of energy in the Obama administration. I wondered if they thought it was such a good project, why didn’t they find a way to pay for it rather than forcing Mississippi Power’s customers to be the sole investors in the plant?
Also, I felt strongly that since there are so many unknowns out there, especially about the technology itself, that nothing would have been harmed by waiting. As I have said, Henry Ford built a better car five years after he started on his first one.
In a few years, we should have a better idea about other discoveries going on now, such as the impact of shale natural gas and also about the technology in the plant. Maybe then Mississippi Power will be able to guarantee that it will work. In a few years, we should also have a better understanding of the current energy legislation and environmental regulation that is being debated in Washington.
If Mississippi Power is going to ask consumers to pay up to $2.88 billion, plus hundreds of millions in banking fees (before the plant puts out any electricity), they need to have their ducks in a row with technology that they can guarantee works and share some of the risk. They didn’t. So I voted “no” twice.

Better Mississippi: The vote was a total change from a stand the PSC took days earlier. Can you tell us what led to the about-face on the PSC?
Presley:
I’ve been consistent – I voted no both times. You would have to ask the other two commissioners that question. Even though I could not support the project after hearing and studying the facts presented to us for months, I felt the first order on April 29th was strong and at least had some good protections in it for the ratepayers. I do not know why the majority voted to ease up on that order and grant the company another $480 million in spending authority under certain circumstances.

Better Mississippi: Mississippi Power Co. won’t release the possible increase in electric rates that customers may have to pay to finance construction of the Kemper County plant. Is this something that should be released to the public? Why?
Presley:
Absolutely. They should have been disclosed before the plant was approved. It was one of the reasons I voted against the project. Two times before the final votes, I asked if the rate impacts were going to be made public before the project was approved, and both times the answer was “no.”
The customers of Mississippi Power have a right to know how this plant is going to impact their bills. They shouldn’t have to wait until they get the bill out of their mailbox to understand how much it is going to cost them. I had proposed changing the rule that allowed Mississippi Power to deem these rate impacts “confidential” prior to the final vote on Kemper. I raised the issue of changing this rule in May but was out-voted. The issue was taken up in our June meeting, at which time it passed unanimously.

Better Mississippi: With the Sierra Club taking the Mississippi Power Co. Kemper County issue to court, how do you see things working now? Will this be a long, protracted case?
Presley:
All I know is that I will keep fighting for taxpayers and ratepayers no matter what happens.

Better Mississippi: You are one of three commissioners on the PSC. Can you tell us about your relationship with the other commissioners? Do you all tend to get along? How do you handle disagreements on major issues, such as the one with Mississippi Power Co.?
Presley:
I like my fellow commissioners and think they’re good men. As with any three-member commission, we are going to disagree from time to time.
With that said, I tend to be very passionate about the job the people elected me to do. I’m passionate about what I believe a regulator is supposed to do. I won’t back down when I believe consumers are getting a raw deal or when I see something unfair about the process. I think that’s what the ratepayers expect and it’s certainly how an elected official who is protecting the public’s interest should act, in my opinion.
When you have the courage of your convictions, you don’t mind going against the grain or standing alone. I recently heard a pretty good saying that fits this situation, “Even a dead fish can go with the flow.” I don’t plan to be a “go with the flow” commissioner.

Better Mississippi: What do you see as the biggest challenge of the PSC these days?
Presley:
The single biggest challenge is making sure that consumers aren’t left out of the picture at the PSC. It seems that almost every rate plan, service plan, rule and regulation was written for and by the utilities for their benefit. Too many times the people who actually have to pay the utility bills have just been left out of the process and forgotten. The simple fact is that if the PSC doesn’t stand up for the consumer, nobody else is going to.
We desperately need balance at the PSC. And by that, I mean that we need to remember that there are real people, families, small businesses and industries that have to pay for these rate hikes and proposals. The utilities have a vast reservoir of attorneys, lobbyists, experts and cheerleaders. All the general public has is the PSC.

Better Mississippi: What do you see as the most important regulatory issues facing the PSC and consumers in the state?
Presley:
So many Mississippians are facing very tough economic situations in their homes and at their businesses. My mission is to do everything possible to keep money in the pockets of taxpayers and ratepayers and not help the big utilities make undeserved profits. That is our single biggest challenge. I believe we can craft policies that are pro-consumer and pro-business. Letting utilities increase rates whenever they want hurts so many small businesses that are the backbone of our state’s economy. I am proud to say that I have voted against more spending and rate increases than any other commissioner in the history of the PSC.

Better Mississippi: How do you see your role on the PSC?
Presley:
I see my role as a watchdog for the public interest – period.
A commissioner I’ve gotten to know from another state says it best. One time, when the hearing room was full of attorneys and high-paid lobbyists for the utility companies, he called the meeting to order by asking everyone who was there on behalf of the utilities to please stand up. Almost the whole room, of course, stood to their feet. Then he told them to sit down. He then asked, “Who is here on behalf of the ratepayers?” Nobody responded and he stood up and said “You see, folks? That’s why I’m here. That’s my job.” I couldn’t agree more.

Better Mississippi: Statewide and district elections will take place in 2011. Do you plan to run for re-election? Why or why not?
Presley:
I honestly haven’t given it much thought. I’m consumed daily with issues at the PSC and getting my job done. I will make a decision about the election in the coming months.

 

Future California Size Electric Bills Kept Quiet Until After the Election

Our Future California Size Electric Bills Kept Quiet Until After the Elections.  It’s politics as usual in Mississippi.

We as Mississippians are told how beneficial CO2 (carbon dioxide) contaminant, transport, and utilizing will be for Mississippi because it will be “sold” to the oil companies to inject into oil shafts.  Have we been told the whole truth?  No.  Are you offended or angered that your Public Service Commissioner failed to research and fully disclose facts for our consideration?  Who represents the people, our property values, our businesses, our future, and our communities?

Facts being withheld from the public leads many to believe they are being fed lies of omission.  There is clearly something to hide and it is not just California size off-the-chart electric bills. There is little transparency so do not allow your Public Service Commissioner to tell you they have had all these public forums to discuss the Kemper Power Plant.   We know the cost impact to the consumer has been  intentionally suppressed to reduce public scrutiny.  Perhaps our elected officials  prefer to protect the benefits they will receive for this pork-fat-filled  project.

The Politics of this is transparent.  No rate increase until after the election so you don’t know not to re-elect until it is to late.

The New Mississippi Coal Plant

Mississippi Power’s Kemper County Coal Plant

Coming soon…

Phil Bryant Supports Power Rate Hike During Slow Economy

Jackson –Sept 29, 2009 at the Mississippi Public Service Commission’s public hearing on the proposed Mississippi Power Company clean coal plant, Lt. Governor Phil Bryant provided the following statement.

“I fully support the Kemper County project planned by Mississippi Power Company. This clean coal gasification plant will provide the needed electricity for Mississippi’s future economic development projects. This project is particularly important at this time when the unemployment rate in Kemper County exceeds 10 percent while during the worst recession in modern history. I hope the Mississippi Public Service Commission will quickly approve construction of the $2.2 billion plant in order to assure clean, affordable energy for generations of Mississippians.”

Phil Bryant, our economy is suffering and Mississippi cannot afford to have some of the highest electric bills in the US.  Also Mississippi businesses have expressed concerns of loosing  jobs and loosing contracts as a direct result of this hike in our power rate from the building of the new Kemper County Coal plant.

 

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