YOUR OPINION: Letters to the Editor July 9, 2013

By NEMS Daily Journal

Kemper plant will demonstrate its value
Mississippi Power continues to make solid progress at the Kemper County energy facility. And, while there are those who continue to serve as detractors from this progress, we are confident the Kemper project will clearly demonstrate its value to customers for many decades when it begins operation next year. The plant is a technological marvel of which all Mississippians should be proud.
As the Sun Herald correctly pointed out in its editorial reprinted in the Daily Journal on July 8, customers of Mississippi Power will not pay for costs for the Kemper plant above the limit already established through regulatory and legislative action.
We would disagree that the project’s finances were “flawed.” The Kemper project represents new, innovative technology, and like all innovation it is difficult to accurately project its final cost. Southern Company’s belief that this technology represents coal’s future in energy production in this country, and perhaps the world, is evident in its willingness to cover the remaining cost to complete the plant.
As the Sun Herald noted in the editorial, Mississippi Power has been straightforward about the cost of the project to customers all along. In fact, at the time of certification of the plant by the Mississippi Public Service Commission, Mississippi Power projected Kemper construction to increase customer bills by more than 30 percent.
Today, we are projecting the increase to be approximately 22 percent for the average retail customer. This increase is well below the outlandish 60 percent predictions made by project opponents, which is an outright misrepresentation of the facts.
We take any increase in our rates very seriously and are doing everything within reason to keep rate increases as low as possible while meeting the energy demands of our customers. Our focus remains providing clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy to those we serve.
Mississippi Power continues to closely monitor and control the cost of the Kemper project. We will keep customers and regulators informed of our progress.

Ed Holland
president and CEO
Mississippi Power
Gulfport