PSC wants Kemper answers and lower rates for customers - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

PSC wants Kemper answers and lower rates for customers

The view 240 feet above Mississippi Power's 3,000-acre investment gives you a glimpse at what six years and more than $6.8 billion have produced. (Photo source: WLOX) The view 240 feet above Mississippi Power's 3,000-acre investment gives you a glimpse at what six years and more than $6.8 billion have produced. (Photo source: WLOX)
JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

The Mississippi Public Service Commission made tough demands on Mississippi Power for answers about its $7 billion Kemper County lignite plant, including a push for the company to lower rates for customers.

Commissioners unanimously passed a motion Wednesday instructing its attorneys to prepare an order for Mississippi Power to look for potential solutions for the troubled power plant.

Commissioners want the power company to only use the natural gas portion of the Kemper County Energy Facility. The plant has been producing electricity using natural gas since 2014.

The commission also wants to make sure Mississippi Power customers don’t get stuck holding the bill for the lignite coal gasifier and other related assets of the plant, such as the lignite mine next to the plant.

Commissioners are also recommending Mississippi Power consider rate reductions, especially for residential customers. The commission will present its order at the July 6 meeting.

Mississippi Power issued this statement regarding the PSC meeting Wednesday afternoon:

The Mississippi Public Service Commission today held a special meeting to discuss the Kemper County energy facility and Mississippi Power’s request to keep Kemper related customer rates stable. The PSC has kept the rates for Kemper in place.

The Commission also established a process to address project costs and encouraged discussions among all parties to reach agreement.

The PSC provided several guidelines to consider for the negotiations, including the possibility of the project only operating as a natural gas-fueled combined cycle plant.  We expect the process for any negotiations and this new docket will be formally addressed as part of a proposed order the Commission will consider at their July 6 meeting. We look forward to reviewing the order.

When construction began on the Kemper County plant, it was touted as a world-class facility using groundbreaking technology. The plant is now billions of dollars over budget and several years behind schedule.

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