- Mississippi Senators voted 51-1 earlier this month in favor of a bill authorizing the Public Service Commission to continue operations, which includes language aimed at limiting the scope of the attorney general's authority.
- According to U.S. News & World Report, language inserted into SB 2295 specifies the PSC has "exclusive original jurisdiction" over utilities and their rates.
- If the jurisdictional language is passed, it would mean Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood would need authorization from the PSC to bring lawsuits against utilities. He is currently suing Entergy on behalf of customers for $1.1 billion, claiming the utility chose to buy overpriced energy from its sister companies instead of buying cheaper energy from merchant generators.
If the legislation passes, as written now, Hood would need authorization from regulators to challenge rate decisions or sue utilities. While it might not cause his Entergy suit to be thrown out, it would make it more complicated for the AG to sue utilities in the future.
According to Hood, Entergy should be forced to refund $1.1 billion for more than a decade of charging customers for energy from expensive and inefficient plants over the span of a decade.
Language added to SB 2295 specifies that the PSC has exclusive jurisdiction over retail rates,and challenges to rates, including customer complaints regarding the amount or whether the rate is reasonable. The lawsuit specifies the PSC's jurisdiction extends, "regardless of the legal theory upon which any such challenge is made."
Unless the bill is passed, the PSC's authority will sunset June 30. Last year, Entergy Mississippi told officials the utility misjudged fuel costs and would need to recover $62 million, seeking a rate increase of roughly 8.5%.