The Mississippi Public Service Commission held a hearing Tuesday about Mississippi Power's request for a rate hike for its performance evaluation and environmental compliance plans.
The company is asking for a total rate increase of 4.6 percent for customers in both of its annual filings for its performance evaluation and environmental compliance plans. Those figures were reduced over what the company required in its November filing before the passage of the Trump administration's tax cut package, which lowered the nation's corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent.
Company officials were there to explain why they needed the increase from their customers in their 23-county service area.
Things got testy when one of Mississippi Power attorneys, Ricky Cox, objected to the Public Utilities Staff adding its comments to the rate case proceeding since they hadn't entered any witnesses, testimony or documents during the discovery period before the rate hearing.
PSC chairman Brandon Presley asked for the staff's input and rejected Mississippi Power's objection. The audio below starts with Presley's request to the staff and continues with his questions for Mississippi Power chief financial officer Moses Feagin about the company's $3.3 million for flights on the parent company's fleet of four Lear Jet aircraft.
4:44 — Presley begins his questions directed at Feagin.
5:54 — Presley asks Feagin if the company is using the Lear Jets to travel around the company's 23-county service area.
7:29 — Presley wants to understand why Mississippi Power needs $3.3 million from ratepayers for flights.
8:19 — Presley says "Y'all got an air force" when told how many planes the Southern Company owns.
15:10 — Presley continues to rail against Cox's objection and says the commission will take as much time as required to get answers to its questions.