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/

Clean coal power plant faces new legal hurdle

May 1, 2012

An environmental group has filed an appeal to once again stop construction of a $2.88 billion integrated gasification combined-cycle power plant in Kemper County, Miss.

The Mississippi Public Service Commission voted 2-1 on April 24 to reissue a certificate for Mississippi Power, a unit of Southern Co. (NYSE: SO), to build the 582 MW Kemper County plant. The Sierra Club appealed the PSC’s ruling to the state Supreme Court on April 27, according to Reuters.

The environmental group’s filing reportedly described the commission’s latest order as “abandoning many of its previous finding from the 2010 Kemper orders, and substituting new and contradictory ones geared at supporting approval of the Kemper project,” the article said.

Sierra Club successfully appealed the earlier Kemper certificate at the Mississippi Supreme Court. The court then ruled in March that regulators did not fully explain why they had to raise a cost cap on the plant from $2.4 billion to $2.88 billion.

 

HERE

Our Victory Against the Mississippi Power’s Kemper Coal Plant Retruns to PSC For Re-Evaluation

It is a happy day to see that the Kemper County Demonstration Lignite Coal Plant is being reevaluated by the PSC per court reversal.  It will be interesting to see how Leonard Bentz and Lynne Posey explain the public value in carbon dioxide capturing, transport, and storage to the Mississippi ratepayer.

In the wake of the latest exposure of the United Nations fraudulent global warming science, the Sustainable Development plans is no doubt  at risk as well.  In order to substantiate the need to capture carbon dioxide the three Mississippi Public Service Commissioners will need to prove the science behind the Kyoto Protocols of the United Nations. Southern Company is voluntarily following the United Nation’s Kyoto Protocols to implement their Agenda 21  to reduce energy usage via excessive energy costs.  This was clearly to be an experiment of behavior modification.

We need to celebrate and get right back to work because Kemper County Coal plant is moving forward and will surely work with the Obama administration and Steven Chu to find any loop-hole to keep the money pit going on the backs of the people. I say pull the plug.

Presley Issues Statement on Kemper County Coal Plant

March 16, 2012

Today Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s reversal of  Mississippi Power Company’s Kemper County Coal Plant:

Today’s 9-0 decision by the Mississippi Supreme Court reversing the $2.8 billion Kemper County Coal Plant is a major victory for each and every customer of Mississippi Power Company and deals a serious blow to the company’s corporate socialism.

In this case, Mississippi Power Company gave new meaning to the phrase “We got the gold mine, they got the shaft”.

I’ve argued consistently that customers of Mississippi Power Company have been mistreated by the company hiding rate impacts in this case and by putting their shareholders above their customers.

This plant is untried technology. The shareholders have no risks while the customers have all the risks along with a 45% rate hike to boot. The company also wanted to raise rates before the plant produced any electricity. I believe in “pay as you go”, I just don’t believe you should pay BEFORE you go.

I personally wrote multi-page dissents in this case and am pleased today to see that those arguments were not in vain.

This $2.8 billion case comes back now to the commission for further review.

Mississippi Kemper coal Power PSCs Failed to Satisfy State Law Now Will Face More Exposure

The Mississippi Supreme Court reversed a lower court’s ruling that approved construction of Southern Co’s USD 2.8 billion coal gasification project in Kemper County, Mississippi.

In a 9-0 voter, the state supreme court said the Mississippi Public Service Commission’s May 2010 approval of the project failed to satisfy state law and sent the case back to the PSC.

Source – Reuters

(www.steelguru.com)

Mississippi Public Service Commissioners About to Be Exposed For Corruption On Kemper Power Plant

This is an example of corruption being, “above the law.”  The Mississippi Public Service Commissioners will not be able to provide proof that this plant is of public convenience and necessity because 1. It is experimental and is using unproven technology on a commercial scale. 2. Carbon capturing provides no benefit to the public and the ratepayers should not be required to pay for it, ever.

Would love to see them try to prove either one of these 2 issues.  It is illegal to gamble ratepayers’ money for a risky scam of carbon capture that fails to provide a public benefit nor is it the most cost effective.

 

The Mississippi Power will keep building Kemper County

Posted: Mar 16, 2012 3:12 PM CDT Updated: Mar 16, 2012 3:12 PM CDT

By Brad Kessie, News Director – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) –

Mississippi Power will keep building its new Kemper County Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle facility, despite a ruling by the Mississippi Supreme Court to send the certification process back to the Public Service Commission.

“We are confident there is substantial evidence in the record to support the Commission’s approval of the Certificate,” said Jeff Shepard, company spokesman.

Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling said the PSC didn’t provide details as to how it reached the decision it did.  That decision approved the certificate of public convenience and necessity Mississippi Power needed to build its Kemper County facility.

The Sierra Club appealed the PSC ruling to the Supreme Court, hoping to derail the $2.7 billion power plant, now under construction in Kemper County’s Liberty community. The environmental group argued the PSC broke the law by failing to lay out its reasoning clearly when it eased the financial terms under which Mississippi Power Co. could build what it calls Plant Ratcliffe.

Mississippi Power officials expect the PSC to rule on its behalf again.  “It is our hope and expectation that the Commission will address this expeditiously. We intend to continue construction of this facility to provide our customers with a sound energy future and unlock the facility’s substantial customer benefits,” Shepard said.

Copyright 2012 WLOX. All rights reserved.

Mississippi Power Rates are Decreasing $2 to Keep us Quiet

Is this the eye of the storm?  No, it is a marketing ploy.  Do not be fooled.  Mississippi Power will be utilizing an experimental device on this coal plant that captures carbon dioxide.  This experimental device is for “demonstration” and will use electricity (not able to produce any electricity) and has no benefit to the public.  Yet two of three Public Service Commissioners voted for the ratepayers to pay this unlawful fee.  It is against regulation to charge the ratepayers for something that is not for the public good.

To be lawful and in legal compliance our PSC would have to prove that there is man-made global warming from CO2 that is harmful to the ratepayers and therefore we would befit from it.  Or they would have to prove how ratepayers would financially benefit, and I doubt there is any other possible public benefit to the TRIG .

If you have an idea of a public  benefit to the experiment Transport Integrated Gasification (TRIG™) CO2 capturing device, let me know.   Who will be paying for the electricity utilized to conduct this experimental demonstration?  Mississippi Rate Payers!

JACKSON — State regulators have approved Mississippi Power Co.’s proposed decrease in the amount it recovers in its annual fuel filing.

Mississippi Power’s fuel costs are recovered from customers on a dollar-for-dollar basis. The company does not earn a profit on the fuel used to generate electricity.

Rate payers should not be paying for the electricity used in a for profit experiment by Southern Company on the backs of taxpayers in the form of tax credits.

Public Service Commission chairman Leonard Bentz says Mississippi Power customers will see an average of $2.20 reduction in their residential electric bills. Average usage is considered 1,000-kilowatt hours.

Bentz says the decrease should show up in utility bills as soon as February 2012.

Mississippi Power, a Southern Company subsidiary, serves approximately 188,000 customers in 23 southeast Mississippi counties.

Leonard Bentz says The whole (Mississippi Power Coal Plant) story is not getting told

Commentary: Big questions for Kemper County coal plant come down to who knew what and when

MBJ Staff

In May of 2010 we wrote, “For better or worse, the economic future for the next 40 years in southeastern Mississippi will be greatly impacted by the decision of Public Service Commissioner Leonard Bentz. ”

Justices with the Mississippi Supreme Court may be asking now how he came to his decision when he changed his vote from no to yes in a rehearing to approve the $2.8-billion Mississippi Power Company Kemper County coal plant.

Bentz and Lynn Posey have been for the project all along while Northern District Commissioner Brandon Presley has steadfastly been against Kemper, calling it, among other things, “Corporate Socialism. ”

However, Bentz has had questions before, particularly concerning rate impacts, which Mississippi Power has never fully disclosed.

“The whole story is not getting told,” Bentz told the Mississippi Business Journal prior to the second vote of the PSC. “It is frustrating. I want to build this plant, but I want everybody to know exactly what is going to happen when we build this plant. I have to look Gulf Coast residents in the eye and tell them I did everything I could to get the information on the table. ”

Yet, the entire story has not been told, and Bentz voted for the plant after publicly questioning its validity a year and half ago.

This case is before the Supreme Court because of the Sierra Club, which is trying to stop the construction of the plant already underway near Liberty. Sierra argues that the PSC broke the law by failing to lay out a clear reason for easing financial terms in its second vote.

“I did not see and still do not find anywhere where the commission explained to the court why this was now not too risky,” said Associate Justice Randy “Bubba” Pierce. “I want to know what happened between April 29 and May 26. What additional facts were submitted to the record?”

That’s a great question for Bentz, who is on the record saying, “The whole story is not getting told. ”

There are two more questions that should be asked.

Is the plant needed?

Will it work?

First, the plant is not needed, because Mississippi Power can supply energy to South Mississippi with natural gas, which the MBJ has reported will be less expensive over a 30 year period than the energy supplied at Kemper.

Second, in an editorial board meeting with Mississippi Power executives and its construction experts, they were not completely secure in the ability of the Kemper technology to work.

We asked if they could guarantee the technology would work when they flipped the switch for the first time at Kemper.

The answer, after a long pause, was no.

With that information, how could the PSC vote for, what amounts to, a $2.88 billion tax on the people of South Mississippi for energy that can gotten elsewhere — and for less money?

We suspect Mississippi’s Supreme Court will ask those question when all is said and done, and maybe, just maybe Bentz or someone will tell the rest of the story.

(here)

Mississippi Supreme Court Questions Kemper Coal Plant

Supremes Question Kemper

Residents near a planned 582-megawatt coal plant protested the project that threatens to raise their electric rates by 45 percent.

by R.L. Nave
Dec. 21, 2011

In all the pages of court records regarding a dispute between environmentalists and an electric utility company–pages that one Mississippi Supreme Court justice characterized as the most voluminous he has seen in his eight years on the court–one important piece of information eluded the justices.

What changed between April and May for the Mississippi Public Service Commission to reverse itself and allow Mississippi Power Co. jack up the cap on a 582-megawatt Kemper County coal plant by $480 million dollars?

“So far I don’t find anything in the commission’s order itself–and haven’t yet found in the record–what it is that would help me understand that the commission is justified in making this factual conclusion that the risks are now balanced,” presiding Justice Jess H. Dickinson said last week.

Brandon Presley, the PSC’s northern district commissioner, has an idea. Presley voted against fellow commissioners Lynn Posey and Leonard Bentz, of the central and southern district respectively, on the cap increase.

“The only thing I saw change was letters came in from Barack Obama’s energy secretary and Haley Barbour,” Presley said.

Last summer, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Gov. Barbour wrote letters asking Presley to reconsider his opposition to Mississippi Power raising the price tag of the plant, which is now under construction. Presley balked at the idea, calling the project a bad deal for consumers.

“If President Obama or Governor Barbour like this plant so much, let them come up with a way to pay for it,” he told the Jackson Free Press last week.

Presley, along with consumer and environmental advocacy groups, has fought to oppose the plant, albeit for slightly different reasons at times.

“I have no problem whatsoever with clean coal technology,” Presley said. “I have a problem with asking the people of Mississippi to be guinea pigs.”

The Sierra Club opposes the 582-megawatt plant because it is slated to use experimental internal gasification combined technology to burn low-grade lignite coal. As the basis for its lawsuit against Mississippi Power and the PSC, the suit before the Mississippi Supreme Court, the Sierra Club also argued that the commission failed in its obligation to publicly explain its rationale for the reversal.

On April 29, 2010, Commissioners Posey and Bentz issued a decision limiting the ratepayer cost of the plant to $2.4 billion. Mississippi Power stockholders of Company would have to pick up any costs above $2.4 billion, they said at the time.

The Atlanta-based utility complained that it should be able to pass any additional costs down to the ratepayers, and warned that it could not afford to build the plant if not allowed to pass on all the costs, including those above $2.4 billion.

Less than one month later, the commission revised its decision May 26, allowing the company to charge ratepayers up to $2.88 billion for the plant. Mississippi Power did not publicly release the amount of the rate increase customers would shoulder as a result.

After being pressed by justices at the hearing, Sierra Club attorney Robert Wiygul said he obtained confidential information showing that ratepayers’ energy bills could rise as much as 45 percent.

Since the hearing, the justices are reviewing the remainder of the court documents and could bring the parties back to clarify some points before the three-judge panel or the full nine-member court. From there, they can remand the issue back to the PSC for review or strike provisions of the deal.

PSC Commissioners Posey and Bentz did not return calls by press time.

“I’m not counting any chickens before they hatch,” said Louie Miller, state director of the Mississippi Sierra Club. “I’m going to remain cautiously optimistic.”

Mississippi High Court Justices Seek Reasons why PSC Reversed Itself to allow Kemper Co. Coal Plant

JACKSON, Miss. — Three Mississippi Supreme Court justices asked repeatedly Wednesday where the state Public Service Commission laid out its reasoning when it modified its decision to allow the construction of a Kemper County power plant last year.

The Sierra Club is trying to get the Supreme Court to derail the $2.7 billion power plant, now under construction in Kemper County’s Liberty community. The environmental group argues the PSC broke the law by failing to lay out its reasoning clearly when it eased the financial terms under which Mississippi Power Co. could build what it calls Plant Ratcliffe.

A lawyer for Mississippi Power said the commission didn’t have to provide such reasoning, though. He said judges could find reasons to support the decision in the 30,000-plus pages of testimony and records submitted as part of the appeal.

Mississippi Power says rates will go up about 33 percent to pay for the plant. However, Sierra Club lawyer Robert Wiygul told the court Wednesday that confidential documents he has reviewed show rates would rise as much as 45 percent. The Mississippi Business Journal reported the same amount in August 2010, citing documents obtained through a public records request.

A unit of Atlanta-based Southern Co., Mississippi Power would buy lignite mined nearby, turn it into a synthetic gas, and burn the gas, capturing byproducts such as carbon dioxide and selling them. The technology is supposed to allow coal to be burned more cleanly and cut emissions of carbon dioxide, which scientists say contribute to global warming. Mississippi Power says the plant is needed to provide more electricity for its 193,000 customers scattered from Meridian to the Gulf Coast.

The Sierra Club opposes the project, saying that the technology behind the plant is unproven and that it’s undesirable under any circumstances to build new coal mines and new coal-fired power plants. The environmental group says it would be cheaper for Mississippi Power to build a natural gas plant or buy power from independent natural gas generators.

“The law requires the Public Service Commission to choose the cheapest and most reliable technology and power plant,” Louie Miller, executive director of the Mississippi Sierra Club, said at a pre-hearing news conference. “This is neither.”

The PSC originally voted in April 2010 to cap at $2.4 billion the amount that Mississippi Power could charge ratepayers for the plant. The company is also getting about $300 million in federal assistance. Commissioners also said the power company couldn’t charge ratepayers for the plant before it started operation.

Mississippi Power said it couldn’t build under those conditions and asked the PSC to reconsider.  (Previously suggested most corrupt in MS) Lawyer Ben Stone  said Wednesday that it needed wiggle room for cost overruns, and wanted to charge ratepayers early to cut the interest customers would pay on money borrowed for the project.

"Uncle Ben Stone", Haley Barbour, and Steven Palazzo

"Uncle Ben Stone", Haley Barbour, and Steven Palazzo

“We could not go to the financial markets without some relief in both of those areas and finance the plant,” Stone said.

If this scheme had any merit it could have found investors.  With a negative credit score and historical pattern of Lignite Coal plant failure, Investors know Mississippi Power and Southern Company’s Kemper Coal Plant is a money pit with no intention of making money. It will be fined, regulated with fees, and taxed right out of any possible profits.  Among other costs to run problems they will encounter.  The profit comes in when MS power can charge a percent of its overall costs to the ratepayers.  Criminal and truly un-American, isn’t it? 

 A month later, commissioners voted 2-1 to give Mississippi Power what it wanted, raising the cost cap by 20 percent, to $2.88 billion. The commission must still agree that company spending is “prudent” for it to collect any money, even below $2.4 billion. It also allowed Mississippi Power to start charging before the plant’s scheduled start in 2014. Under state law, Mississippi Power can keep the money even if the plant is never completed.

It is not prudent to charge ratepayers for an experimental CO2 capturing mechanism that fails to produce any electricity, and  is founded on global warming science fraud, and a cap-and-trade system not yet in adopted. 

The key issue in Wednesday’s case is not whether the plant is a good idea, but whether the PSC adequately laid out its rationale for what Miller labeled a “flip-flop” by commissioners Leonard Bentz and Lynn Posey, who voted for the amended conditions.

The Sierra Club said the PSC didn’t adequately explain. “That’s going to require some evidence you can see and really get your arms around,” Wiygul said.

He said judges shouldn’t have to pick and choose reasons from the overflow of material submitted with the appeal, and the three justices sitting Wednesday seemed sympathetic to that argument.

“I did not see and still do not find anywhere where the commission explained to the court why this was now not too risky,” said Associate Justice Randy “Bubba” Pierce. “I want to know what happened between April 29 and May 26. What additional facts were submitted to the record?”

Stone said the new facts were contained in Mississippi Power’s motion to reconsider and its post-hearing briefs. “It’s very obvious to us that all those matters are supported,” he told the justices.

More importantly, though, he said the PSC was not required to summarize its reasoning for court review. Stone said that a prior court case says that as long as the court can find the reasoning in the record leading to the decision, the court must let the PSC’s decision stand.

JEFF AMY  Associated Press

Mississippi Power & Southern Company’s FRAUD on Local Radio

I bet this topic will NOT be brought up in Mississippi Supreme court since the Sierra Club is a Non-Government Agency for the United Nations.   My understanding is the Sierra Club is a tool used to put laws into place by bringing litigation to UN connected programs and then settling or causing  decisions to be placed into law moving the Agenda of the UN forward.  We will see.  If they really cared they would demand to have the CO2 controversy proven in court to settle the science.

From Youtube

Mississippi Power‘s CO2 Capturing Lignite Coal Plant in Kemper County is based on FRAUDULENT SCIENCE. My favorite Gulf Coast Morning Radio Show host Kipp Greggory, interviewed former NASA scientist and White House Adviser, John L Casey, Author of COLD SUN. This is a portion of the exchange.
The Space and Science Research Corporation, (SSRC) is an independent scientific research organization in Orlando, Florida, USA. It has become the leading research organization in the United States on the subject of the science and planning for the next climate change to a long lasting cold era especially with regard to alerting the government, the media, and the people of the need to prepare for this new climate era.

Its staff of Supporting Researchers includes some of the world’s best in the fields of solar physics and geology including earthquake science and volcanism.

The SSRC and its President, Mr. John L. Casey, have an established record of accuracy in climate change predictions using the Relational Cycle Theory or RC Theory of climate change, a theory based on solar cycles as the main drivers behind the Earth’s variations in climate.
The Mission of the SSRC Is: To provide an independent un-biased resource for the government, media, corporations, and the people on important areas of scientific research and engineering, especially the science behind the next climate change and measures that can be taken to prepare for it.

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