For now the construction of a multi-billion dollar coal plant can go on as scheduled. In a public hearing that lasted less than a minute the Mississippi Public Service Commission voted two-to-one to issue a temporary certificate to Mississippi Power Company to continue a project in Kemper County.
Lynn Posey and Leonard Bentz voted for the certificate, while Brandon Presley was the lone dissenter. Presley said he is concerned that the project's budget has exceeded the estimated cost of $2.4 billion dollars, setting up what he calls a "bailout" situation.
"Mississippi power customers bear all the risk in this project for untried technology," Presley said. "While at the time the company walks off scot free, in case anything goes bad."
Presley continued to emphasize that only excess will be passed on to Mississippi Power customer.
"We're in a 'too big to fail' scenario," Presley said. "We watched all the bailouts on Wall Street, all the bailouts in the auto industry. Don't be surprised if we're not bailing out Mississippi Power Company if this thing goes south."
The coal plant is scheduled to go online by May 2014 and will provide power to much of southern Mississippi from its location about 20 miles north of Meridian.
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