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Mississippi Power Kemper Coal Plant $366 Million Over Budget

By Rhonda Miller | Published 13 Jun 2012 08:04pm | comments

Mississippi Power is asking for a rate increase to pay for construction of its Kemper County coal plant.  MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports the plant is $366 million dollars over budget.

The Sierra Club says a new report showing the Kemper County plant is over budget should not mean a rate increase for Mississippi Power customers.  

In a telephone press conference Wednesday, Mississippi Sierra Club Director Louie Miller said the group plans to oppose any rate increase the when Public Service Commission considers the issue later this month.

"The ratepayers of Mississippi do not need to be the financiers of this plant. So we will certainly be there in force and I know a number of ratepayers from the Gulf Coast are coming up to voice their objections."

The Kemper County plant is currently under construction and is supposed to burn a soft form of coal called lignite that will mined nearby.

Mississippi Power spokesman Jeff Shepard said the request for a rate increase was made before the report came out in May.

"We filed an 11.66 percent increase back in November, asking for that from the Public Service Commission, which we have not yet received."

Shepard says Mississippi Power reduced its request to about a six percent increase on June 1.

That was weeks after a May 10 report revealed the Kemper County project was over budget.

Leonard Bentz, who is the Southern District Public Service Commissioner, supports the Kemper County plant.

"The Sierra Club is, I guess, trying to say there’s definitely... it’s going to be this big, horrible project, that’s going to cost much, much more money. And all we’re doing is doing what we should do, is keeping an eye on the ball, and making sure that Mississippi Power Company does what they say they’re going to do, and does it on time. Because at the end of the day, this plant will benefit Mississippians tremendously."

The three-member Public Service Commission is expected to consider the rate increase at its June 22 meeting in Jackson.






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