CEO: Mississippi Power not proud of Kemper setbacks

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Mississippi Power CEO Ed Holland says he's not proud of the fact the Kemper County Lignite Plant has been plagued with setbacks. But he believes the project represents the future for coal as an important power supply.

Holland made those comments at Wednesday's Pascagoula Rotary Club luncheon.

Mississippi Power's parent company recently announced by the time the lignite plant is up and running, its construction cost will exceed $5.5 billion. That's nearly double what the Southern Company originally projected its costs would be.

"We are over budget, we are behind schedule, but the bottom line is the Southern Company, the Mississippi Power Company are standing behind that," Holland told Rotary Club members. "We protected the customer. We kept the cost and we kept the rates over a five to seven year period, so the customers are protected from that perspective."

Holland said nearly 6,000 construction workers are at the Kemper site. Once they're finished, Mississippi Power will transition into its startup mode. The current plan is for the Kemper County plant to go on line sometime in 2015.

In recent SEC filings, Southern Company officials admitted weather issues and construction delays pushed back their timetable to get the lignite plant up and running.

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