JACKSON (AP) — Three state Supreme Court justices asked repeatedly Wednesday where the state Public Service Commission laid out its reasoning when it modified its decision to allow construction of a Kemper County power plant in 2010.
The Sierra Club is trying to get the Supreme Court to derail the $2.7 billion power plant, now under construction. 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 the plant.
A lawyer for Mississippi Power said the commission didn’t have to provide such reasoning. 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 confidential documents he has reviewed show rates would rise as much as 45 percent.
The PSC voted in April 2010 to cap at $2.4 billion the amount Mississippi Power could charge ratepayers for the plant. The company is getting about $300 million in federal assistance. Commissioners also said the power company couldn’t charge ratepayers in advance.
Mississippi Power said it couldn’t build under those conditions and asked the PSC to reconsider. A month later, commissioners voted 2-1 to give Mississippi Power what it wanted, raising the cost cap to $2.88 billion.
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 the reversal by commissioners Leonard Bentz and Lynn Posey, who voted for the amended conditions.
Read more: http://www.sunherald.com/2011/12/14/3633322/justices-question-psc-in-coal.html#ixzz1geAyyDHb