Mississippi Power Co. customers are off the hook. Atlanta-based Southern Co. said Wednesday it will absorb $2.8 billion in costs related to the Kemper County energy facility’s lignite coal gasification project. Southern, the parent company of Mississippi Power, said in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing Wednesday that cost recovery from Mississippi Power customers for the $7.5 billion plant’s gasification technology “is no longer probable.” So the utility will absorb the cost of the gasification portions of the plant and its adjacent lignite coal mine.
Domestic violence victims will soon be able to remove one of many obstacles that could prevent their transition into a new home away from abusers: coming up with utility deposits. The Mississippi Public Service Commission formally adopted a “domestic violence rule” establishing a utility deposit waiver for certified victims at its meeting Tuesday. The commission’s unanimous decision means that 30 days after the rule is filed with the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office, companies such as Entergy Mississippi, Mississippi Power Co., Atmos Energy, CenterPoint Energy, electric-power associations and cooperatives can waive victims’ utility deposits for up to 60 days. “They still have to pay it after 60 days, but that’s to help these victims escape a dangerous situation,” said Brandon Presley, chairman of the Public Service Commission, after the meeting. These utility providers will first need to confirm that the applicant is a domestic violence victim.
State-run environmental programs are getting a big boost. The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality has received a $2.15 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as part of a performance partnership grant, which provides financial assistance to states and tribes to address urgent environmental problems.
Robbie Wilbur, a spokesman for the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, said Thursday that details on the specific environmental programs the grant will fund were not immediately available. The EPA said the grant will aid Mississippi’s efforts to reduce air and water pollution; improve waste management; restore brownfields to productive uses; and prevent pollution and promote sustainability and natural-resource conservation. MDEQ also has plans to improve safe public drinking water supplies; address wastewater concerns and water pollution from rain runoff; and restore and protect wetlands, the EPA said in a new release. The grant will also improve how public information about the environment.