Mississippi’s PSC Faces Confidential Data Issues in the IRP Rule

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Bigger Pie Forum | Mississippi’s PSC Faces Confidential Data Issues in the IRP Rule | BPF
 
The Kemper Project power plant was a technological Hail Mary that was going to be built on the backs of U.S. taxpayers and Mississippi Power ratepayers.
The one-of-a-kind plant was designed to maximize capital investment so as to maximize the company’s rate of return on capital from ratepayers in the form of rate hikes, which could’ve ranged from to 40 percent to 60 percent. Obviously, the plan didn’t work.
The confidentiality of certain key documents played a major role in the plant clearing several early regulatory hurdles. Changing the process by which documents are kept out of the public eye will be essential to preventing another Kemper like disaster from happening again.
The Mississippi Public Service Commission has started a docket as it works on changing the way it reviews the finances and generation capacity for the state’s two investor-owned utilities. This efficiency review process will ensure that ratepayers aren’t paying bigger bills for unneeded generation capacity.
Part of that process is changing the way the two utilities would protect confidential or proprietary data from outside scrutiny.
One of the reasons why the Kemper power plant cleared the early review process with few snags is a powerful tool that the investor-owned utilities wield in Mississippi thanks to state law. If a utility wants to keep something out of the public eye, it can go to a judge and get them to grant an order to redact any information the utility doesn’t want available to the general public.
Once that order is given, the list of people who can view the information is limited to the PSC and the separate Public Utilities Staff.
A rule change that would give that responsibility to the Commission rather than the courts would allow any challenger to

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