Mississippi Public Service Commissioners outlined three recommendations for the Southern Company to settle on within 45 days. This after the "Clean Coal" portion of the Kemper County Power Plant comes in three years behind schedule and nearly five billion dollars over budget; a technology that could have put Mississippi at the forefront of the coal-burning industry if it would've worked.
"What this order basically does is set up a process," said Southern District Commissioner Samuel Britton. "The whole objective is to have a final resolution to Kemper and all aspects of it."
It's been suggested the company come up with a plan that will not increase customers rates, while maybe even finding a way to reduce rates for residential customers. Commissioners, also, want the plant to change it's certificate from a coal burning facility to one of natural gas.
"Nothing in this settlement would say that they couldn't continue, with their own capital and with their own dollars, exploring the lignite gasification," said Northern District Commissioner Brandon Presley. "What we're dealing with today is what are the customers of Mississippi Power Company responsible for paying."
Mississippi Power announced last week it would be suspending it's lignite coal gasification operations immediately, effectively making it a natural gas ONLY operation. Other negotiations, however, are still in limbo.
If an agreement is not reached in 45 days, Commissioners say they could have the option to revoke portions of the plant's license.
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