Settlement reached over clean coal fiasco in Mississippi

February 06, 2018 - 12:57 pm

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Years of contention and threatened electric rate increases ended Tuesday as utility regulators approved a settlement declaring how much Mississippi Power Co. customers should pay for their share of a troubled $7.5 billion power plant.

Once touted as a model for the future of coal, the Mississippi Public Service Commission forced the unit of Atlanta-based Southern Co. to quit construction on the Kemper County plant in 2017, with shareholders absorbing about $6.4 billion in losses.

The move means residential customers could soon pay about $3 less per month than they're currently paying for the part of the power plant burning natural gas.

The agreement pulls the plug on a coal gasification project launched by one of the nation's largest utilities with the much-hyped promise of burning coal more cleanly while capturing climate-warming carbon dioxide. Mississippi Power's CEO Anthony Wilson said "the economics really didn't work out and the technology was hard to perfect."

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