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Boyce Adams either lying or uniformed when it comes to his key issue — the Kemper County Coal Plant

November 7th, 2011 Comments off

Why won’t Boyce Adams answer questions about his main talking point in the race against Brandon Presley for northern commissioner of the Mississippi Public Service Commission?

He has gone on the record several times, saying there will be no rate increase involved with the building of a $2.88 billion coal plant in Kemper County. Yet, when we called him this past week to ask him about it, he didn’t return multiple phone calls.

Boyce Adams has said there will be no rate increase invoved in the building of the Kemper County Coal Plant

In a story we ran in this week’s Mississippi Business Journal, Presley views the plant as a job-killer while Adams was quoted two weeks ago in A Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal story reports Adams as saying, “There is no rate hike associated with the project.”

RELATED STORIES …

••• KEMPER PLANT KEY IN HEATED PSC RACE

••• Bentz: The whole Kemper story is not getting told

••• Poultry association: Kemper could cost jobs in Mississippi

••• Topazi talks — ‘About a third’ really means ‘about a half’ where rate increases are concerned with Kemper Coal Plant

••• Public record or corporate secrets — PSC to decide whether public should be privy to matters concerning their pocket books ahead of corporate concerns of confidentiality

••• Kemper plant — Yes or no?

••• Presley pulling for Kemper, but admits it is a huge risk

••• Sierra Club sues to stop Kemper

••• The Kemper Project: What to expect

Brandon Presley has said he opposed and voted against the $2.8 billion Kemper Coal Plant and against the 45 percent rate hike

••• Kemper technology could be proving ground for a plant in China

••• BGR website changed following MBJ story on Kemper Plant

••• (VIDEO) Kemper County welcomes coal plant

••• (VIDEO) Anthony Topazi on the Kemper County Coal Plant

According to a 2009 document filed with the Commission, the Kemper plant could make customer rates go up by about 45 percent. Mississippi Power Company told poultry farmers that their rates would rise by 30 percent.

So, when it comes to rate hikes involved with the Kemper coal project, Adams is either lying or uninformed. In either case, that is unacceptable for someone basing his entire candidacy on the worthiness of the Kemper County Coal Plant.

From my perspective, I am sorry that we cannot provide people with a response from Adams about this issue. However, we have been calling him for nearly a week without a return phone call.

If he needs to clarify his position, he can reach me at (601) 364-1000.

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If MPC wants to build coal plant, it should do so with private financing

December 30th, 2009 Comments off

In the grand scheme of things, it’s hard to be critical of a company that is trying to grow, create more jobs and make America more energy independent.
Unfortunately, Mississippi Power Company (MPC) doesn’t have all of its ducks in a row in regard to building a $2.4-billion lignite coal plant in Kemper County at the ratepayers expense.
Mississippi Power would like for its ratepayers to trust them when it says there is a need for a new plant, and that the reason it is needed is because natural gas is too volatile of a commodity to be trusted as a primary source of energy spanning the next 25 years.
A couple of weeks ago, Mississippi Power was given the opportunity to respond to comments from experts saying that because of recent discoveries of natural gas, an increase in production has lowered the commodity’s price, therefore contradicting MPC’s “need” to build a new lignite coal power plant.
MPC’s CEO Anthony Topazi did not respond to interview requests at the time.
However, we did provide testimony Topazi made before the Mississippi Public Service Commission, where he said “gas is simply unpredictable.”
“Any long-term energy strategy,” he said, “that is relying on some optimistic forecast for natural gas is dangerous and exposes our customers to enormous cost risks going forward.”
After the story ran, MPC asked for an editorial board meeting with us to explain in detail the issues it has with natural gas pricing.
In that meeting, Mississippi Power reiterated its position it had made to the Public Service Commission that natural gas is too volatile. Using their experts’ range of natural gas forecasts, they had determined that energy from lignite coal would be cheaper for customers than energy from natural gas over the life of the plant.
“Great,” we said. “Put us in touch with those experts, so we can put their comments on the record.”
They wouldn’t do that, citing competitive reasons.
They told us to contact an expert twho had testified before the Public Service Commission. We did.
He declined to be interviewed.
So, we asked to see the MPC forecasts it was providing to the Public Service Commission.
They wouldn’t do that.
What we were left with for another story is a lot of experts who have continually said that while natural gas has been volatile in the past, it will not be in the foreseeable future.
In fact, just a week after Mississippi Power submitted its findings to the PSC, but made them unavailable to the public, the federal Energy Information Agency released its latest findings.
The results from the EIA shows gas prices rising at a consistent rate over the next 25 years. However, at the end of 2035, prices will only be two cents more than they were two years ago.
That is hardly volatile.
Mississippi sits on a gigantic pile of lignite coal.
Mississippi Power believes it has new cutting-edge “clean coal” technology that can put Mississippi on the map. MPC believes it can make money doing that.
Great.
But don’t make the case for the plant with claims that cannot be backed up in a public forum, particularly when the public is going to be on the hook for billions of dollars.
As stated before, we would love to see Mississippi Power Company grow, create more jobs and make America more energy independent.
It just seems that the ratepayers of Southeast Mississippi ought not be on the hook for the bill, if it doesn’t work out.
Mississippi Power Company should get private financing for its project. The model of putting everyday Mississippians on the hook for the financing this project is not a good one, particularly since the plant is not expected to provide savings for customers until 2024.