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Kemper settlement could mean 21 percent rate jump

Jeff Amy, Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- A settlement between the Public Service Commission and Mississippi Power Co. could raise rates more than 21 percent.

Officials of Southern Co., the Atlanta-based parent of Mississippi Power, told investors Friday that they will immediately request an increase to cover construction costs. If the PSC approves a $172 million request, company officials say rates would rise 21 percent. Bills would rise again later to repay costs above $2.4 billion that Mississippi Power won't be allowed to earn a profit on.

It's not clear the deal will go through. Hattiesburg resident Thomas Blanton, a party to Mississippi Power's court case against the PSC, wants the state Supreme Court to deny the settlement and proceed with oral arguments scheduled Monday. As of 11:30 a.m. Friday, arguments remained scheduled, a court spokeswoman says.