Natural gas could cost less than coal for Kemper County plant

FILE PHOTO - In this Nov. 16, 2015 photograph, an over view shows a section of the Mississippi Power Co. carbon capture plant in DeKalb, Miss. Treetop Midstream Services, a company that had planned to buy carbon dioxide from Mississippi Power Co.'s Kemper County power plant is suing the utility. Treetop filed suit in Georgia, June 9, 2016, after Mississippi Power terminated its contract to buy carbon dioxide, claiming the unit of Atlanta-based Southern Co. left Treetop with a “pipeline to nowhere.” (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Mississippi Power Co. says the power plant it’s building in Kemper County will be cheaper to run on natural gas than on its planned fuel of lignite coal unless gas prices are high.

The unit of Atlanta-based Southern Co. filed that analysis Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the utility announced it needs more time to complete the $7 billion Kemper plant, which is now nearly three years behind schedule and more than $4 billion over budget. Mississippi Power says it will lose another $25 million from the delay, although customers could also be asked to pay more.

The company says an upcoming rate case will ask customers to pay $4.2 billion overall for Kemper. Southern says it hopes to negotiate an agreement with the Mississippi Public Service Commission and could accept less.


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