Mississippi Power talks Kemper Plant

MOSELLE, MS (WDAM) - Mississippi Power President and CEO Ed Day met with WDAM managers Wednesday in an effort to bring public awareness to their planned lignite burning plant in Kemper County.

Day says the 2.4 million dollar plant will be up and running in three years. The plant will convert lignite into a synthesis gas, that can generate electricity with fewer emissions than existing coal power plants.

Day says Mississippi has a 4 billion ton reserve of lignite that will help stabilize fuel costs. As for the cost for ratepayers Day says over a 10 year period the rates would have gone up 30 to 33 percent whether a gas plant or the Kemper plant was built.

Day says the cost of the construction of the plant will be seen in rates over a 40 year period. However, Day says customers will save money in the long run.

"If we had not done Kemper and we would have built that gas unit rates would have still gone up a third over the next 10 to 15 years. We would have been 70 to 75 percent gas in Mississippi. If gas goes to 14 one day and down to six the next you would see that in you power bills, and industry wanting to relocate into our state they would have said, 'what do you think energy prices will project based on your resources?' Then they would say,'oh, you are 70 percent gas!' At least now we are about a third, a third, a third. Pulverized coal, gas and lignite. We might have a shot at dampening the volatility to our customers," said Day.

Day says Mississippi Power will look into diversifying their energy options to make sure customers get the best services and rates.