Mississippi Power customers to see slight cost increase

The Mississippi Public Service Commission (MPSC) has approved Mississippi Power Company’s annual fuel cost adjustment, which was filed in November. An increase of $10.6 million for fuel costs in 2003 will mean about a 2% overall increase to Mississippi Power customers on their monthly bills in 2004.

Fuel costs, which account for about 40% of the company’s operating budget, are charged as a direct pass-through item to all Mississippi Power customers. Each year, the company adjusts those charges based on actual fuel expenditures for the previous year and projected costs for the upcoming year.

With the new rates, an average residential customer paying about $82.85 a month should see an increase of approximately $1.30.

“The fuel adjustment actually decreased for the previous two years,” said Kurt Brautigam, company spokesman. “Most of this year’s increase is attributable to rising natural gas prices.

“Our fuel mix is now about half coal and half natural gas, which allows us as much flexibility as possible in what we buy and what we burn. We try to lock in future rates whenever we can, but we’re projecting those costs to go up slightly in 2004.”

Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company, serves more than 192,000 customers in 23 southeastern Mississippi counties.

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