BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A lot of Mississippi Power customers have been critical of the company for getting two rate hikes approved, before the controversial Kemper County lignite plant even goes on line. But new CEO Ed Holland said that is not the least bit unusual.
"It has become the practice in many areas of the country. That is not unique to Mississippi," Holland told WLOX News during a recent interview.
Holland also insists by doing that, the customers are saving about a half billion dollars over the life of the plant.
As to the cost overruns, he candidly admits his estimators vastly missed what the price tag would be on some aspects of the Kemper plant.
"Where we missed it, and where many plants of this type, first of the kind technology miss it, is in the piping, the wiring, those kinds of things. And we missed dramatically on the labor," Holland said.
The Sierra Club has been very vocal in its opposition to the plant. Holland wonders what type of energy production the Sierra Club actually supports.
"You go to their website, they have a program beyond coal. In fact, they are against the use of coal whatsoever. They have a program beyond gas. They have a program beyond nuclear. They are opposed to solar, and they are opposed to some wind projects. I ask you, what do they suggest we use to provide energy?"
Holland also conceded that major damage was done to the power company's relationship with its regulator, the Mississippi Public Service Commission. That has to do with information that was not released to the PSC at the time it was requested. In fairness to Ed Holland, that happened when Ed Day was still CEO.
Holland ended the interview by telling us that his company is working very hard to rebuild that relationship.
Holland made his remarks during a taping of our weekly program, WLOX News This Week.