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Natural gas could cost less than coal for Kemper plant

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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