Settlement Could Mean 21 Percent Rate Jump

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A settlement between the Mississippi Public Service Commission and Mississippi Power Co. could raise rates more than 21 percent.

Officials of Southern Co., the Atlanta-based parent of Mississippi Power, told investors Friday that they will immediately request an increase to cover construction costs at the lignite coal plant in Kemper County.

If the PSC approves a $172 million request, company officials say rates would rise 21 percent.

Bills would rise again later to repay costs above $2.4 billion on which Mississippi Power won't be allowed to earn a profit. It's not clear the deal will be made.

Hattiesburg resident Thomas Blanton, a party to Mississippi Power's court case against the PSC, wants the state Supreme Court to deny the settlement and proceed with oral arguments scheduled Monday.

As of 11:30 a.m. Friday, arguments remained scheduled, a court spokeswoman said.