Meridian Star

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August 2, 2013

PSC's Bentz says Kemper rate cap to stand

(Continued)

JACKSON —

Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley had opposed the project from the beginning. He said Wednesday he was troubled by news of the new $450 million hit, which stockholders would absorb, and the climbing cost of the plant.

"The costs are very concerning," Presley said.

Southern Co. officials have struggled to contain building costs, which have grown to more than $4.7 billion when the power plant, a lignite mine, carbon dioxide pipeline and other expenses are included, according to company filings.

Customers will also have to pay off as much as $1 billion in bonds needed to finance the project, though Southern Co. will not make a profit off that borrowed money.

When finished, Plant Ratcliffe, as the Kemper plant is called, is supposed to turn coal into a gas then burn it to generate electricity. The process is meant to capture much of the carbon dioxide created in the process. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas blamed for causing global warming.

The captured gas will then be sold to companies that use it to extract oil from the ground.

 

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