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Miss. Power: Kemper costs to exceed original estimate by 15 percent

Mississippi  Power Co. announced late Friday afternoon that the Kemper county coal plant’s costs are close to butting up against the $2.88 billion cap the Public Service Commission imposed on the project.

A company press release says the news was revealed during a meeting with independent monitors. It does not say how far along construction is. It also does not say when the meeting in which the cost information was revealed took place. There was a meeting set for early May between monitors and the company to address the project’s contingency being close to depletion.

The plant’s latest figures would have been included in the independent monitor’s June report. The monthly reports have not been made readily available to the public as far as being posted on the PSC website like the orders and various other filings  associated with the project have been.  The Mississippi Business Journal filed an open records request on June 1 for the June report.

The release also does not say how far along construction is. The PSC voted 2-1 — Northern District Commissioner Brandon Presley was the dissenting vote — April 24 to reissue Kemper’s certificate. Part of the order granting that certificate said that monitors and company officials would meet in early May to discuss the dwindling contingency and other matters.

Here’s the press release, verbatim:

Mississippi Power, in its monthly meeting with the Mississippi Public Service Commission (PSC) Independent Construction Monitors, reports the Kemper plant construction is progressing on schedule and continues to be the best generation option for customers. The plant will be on line May 2014 and immediately begin saving customers on fuel costs.

The construction costs are currently projected to be approximately $2.76 billion or 15 percent above the original construction estimate prepared in 2009. The PSC established a cost cap of $2.88 billion for plant construction.

 Mississippi Power will deliver additional economic value for the Project from increased byproduct sales, such as CO2, and savings from lower financing costs. Because of these benefits to customers, the new estimate will not increase the rate impact of Kemper.

 “We are committed to bringing the Kemper Project on line, within the cost cap, to provide clean, safe and reliable energy to our customers,” said Cindy Duvall, company spokeswoman. “We work every day to find ways to bring value to our customers while preparing to meet their future energy needs.”

 Mississippi Power, a Southern Company subsidiary, serves approximately 188,000 customers in 23 southeast Mississippi counties.


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