Letters to the Editor

South Mississippi banker backs new power plant
As a businessman in South Mississippi, I feel the need to explain why the recent decision of the Public Service Commission on the Kemper County generating plant makes it impossible for Mississippi Power to finance and construct the plant.
I hesitated to come forward because I am a member of the Mississippi Power Company Board of Directors, but I now feel this gives me a unique view of the matter. I also feel my experience as President and Chief Executive Officer of Hancock Bank allows me to speak from an important point of view – as a lender. While there are several reasons in the Commission’s decision that would make it impossible for Mississippi Power to finance and build the plant, I will only comment on the most important one.
Several years ago, the Mississippi Legislature recognized it would be essential for utilities to build new, large and very costly baseload generating units to serve our state. To encourage this construction, the Legislature allowed rates to be collected during the construction period. This would allow the utility sufficient cash flow during construction to obtain financing. As a lender, I can assure you this cash flow is a requirement in order to obtain financing. Just as important, this method would save the customers 20 to 25 percent on their rates over the long run.
Similar rate provisions have been implemented in many other states, most recently in Georgia. All of these jurisdictions have correctly assessed the realities that exist in today’s credit markets and provided the measures which are necessary to ensure adequate power is available in the future. I hope Mississippi can do the same.
Mississippi Power Company cannot afford to finance or build this Kemper plant without using this legislatively approved method, and customers will not get the benefits of the savings from the plant without it. These are principles of finance which apply equally in almost every large financial transaction, not just electric power plants.
I hope that this explanation helps everyone, including the public service commissioners, understand this important issue; and I urge the Commission to reconsider their order.
Carl J. Chaney
President & CEO
Hancock Holding Company & Hancock Bank
Gulfport/Biloxi

Former Saltillo man offended by mayor
My wife and I lived in Saltillo from June 2002 until March 2010. During that time, there were several occasions when Mayor Bill Williams and I disagreed on some political and business matters but I never felt that either of us was strongly offended by the other’s views.
After my wife and I sold our house in Saltillo last month and moved to Traceway Manor in Tupelo due to health reasons, I telephoned both the City of Saltillo Utilities Department and City Hall during normal business hours to request a refund of our deposit for sewer service. When no one answered, I left a message expressing my displeasure that there was no one with whom I could speak at the time. Later, I received a telephone call from Mayor Williams in which he stated his name and that he had just returned from burying his brother. He said my refund was ready for me to pick up and went on to say how glad he was that I was leaving his town. He then hung up the phone before I could say a word. If only someone in the office had recorded a message as to why the offices were closed!
My wife was born in Saltillo. We enjoyed living in Saltillo and would also like to consider it “our” town. Does Mayor Williams welcome to Saltillo only those who agree with him?
Claude Roebuck
Tupelo

Tupelo’s courtesy cited by an Alabama couple
My husband and I had a wonderful day shopping in Tupelo last Friday. We arrived at one retailer’s parking lot only to be approached by a man asking to borrow our pen. The pickup parked next to him had a nail in one tire. He wanted to leave a note letting the owner know.
At another retailer a man walked up as I was struggling with a long stack of 2×4’s on a trolley. He offered to help me load them. I told him thanks, but my husband had gone for our pickup and would soon return. He offered to help us load them again when my husband showed up. We went for lunch only to have the wait staff act very courteously with several older people ahead of us.
This same thing happened at another restaurant when my husband had to go for tests at the heart doctor a couple of months prior.
It is a real pleasure to shop in an area where people are so nice. Thank you to those who go out of their way to make others feel respected and cared for.
Glen and Faye Harris
Hamilton, Ala.

NEMS Daily Journal