Posted: Aug 04, 2014 8:18 PM CDT
Updated: Aug 05, 2014 9:28 AM CDT
By Caray Grace
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) –
You could say, Mississippi Power and the Sierra Club have called a truce. The power company and the environmental group announced a settlement Monday, in their six year battle over the Kemper County lignite plant.
The agreement they forged ends all debate about the merits of the Kemper facility, and the excessive cost of building it. The Sierra Club is calling this a landmark legal settlement.
“I feel like it’s a big win for our community,” Sierra Club member Roberta Avila said. “Very proud of the Sierra Club and legal counsel Robert Wiygul for getting us what we’ve been able to attain in the settlement.”
Sierra Club attorney Robert Wiygul said it was a hard fought, six year battle, but he is confident customers will benefit from the settlement.
“It was time for the litigation to end, for us and for Mississippi Power to move on a path that’s going to be good for the rate payer and for South Mississippi,” said Wiygul.
In this new settlement, a multi-million dollar deal was reached that will soon aid low income customers with energy costs.
“It’s going to set up a fund of $15 million that is going to help low income rate payers of Mississippi Power make their homes more energy efficient,” said Wiygul.
That $15 million will fund an energy efficiency grant. Wiygul said making low income customers’ homes more energy efficient will have a long lasting impact.
“Their power bills are going to go down and, of course, anytime you’re not generating electricity, you’re not producing as much,” said Wiygul.
He said it will also provide grants to schools and to charities, to allow them to put renewable energy like solar power at their offices, which should lower their bills.
While the Sierra Club has officially removed themselves from the litigation, the Public Service Commission and their supporters are still participating in the Kemper proceedings.