After dumping billions of dollars into the partly-completed power plant, the Public Service Commission says it's time to scrap the plan to cleanly burn coal at the Kemper County Energy Facility. What would have been a first-of-its-kind attempt that, critics say, would have continued to cost customers a pretty penny.
"Even if it would have worked, it was going to be very uneconomical," said Charles Grayson with the Bigger Pie Forum. "It was going to have extremely high costing power."
In the past, the project's budget has been raised to cover the delays and state-of-the-art parts, now commissioners want to try changing the plant's use to burn only Natural Gas so that ratepayers won't get stuck footing the bill for the part of the plant that hasn’t opened.
"The vast majority of the cost for this plant was for the lignite and the gasifier processing facilities," Grayson explained. "So this probably means another $3.5 billion write-offs for Southern, at some point, and that's $3.5 billion that the ratepayers would have had to pay off."
Commissioners are also asking the power company to come up with new plans to cover the plant's billing; a plan that will stop rates from increasing, while maybe even finding a way to reduce residential customers' rates.
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