Southern Company and Mississippi Power today announced the company is immediately suspending start-up and operations activities involving the lignite gasification portion of the Kemper County energy facility. The combined cycle plant has been serving customers with reliable and affordable electricity for almost three years. The facility will continue to operate using natural gas pending the Mississippi Public Service Commission’s decision on future operations.
This action is being taken to preserve the safety and health of the workforce and safety of the facility, while still retaining the necessary workforce to operate the combined cycle power plant.
“We are committed to ensuring the ongoing focus and safety of employees while we consider the future of the project, including any possible actions that may be taken by the Commission,” said Southern Company Chairman, President and CEO Thomas A. Fanning. “We believe this decision is in the best interests of our employees, customers, investors and all other stakeholders.”
Southern Company and Mississippi Power believe this is the appropriate step to manage costs given the economics of the project and the Commission’s intent to establish a settlement docket to address Kemper-related matters including the future operation of the gasifier portion of the project.
“I am extremely proud of the thousands of our employees and the contractors who have helped construct Kemper,” said Mississippi Power Chairman, President and CEO Anthony L. Wilson. “The commitment of these individuals to their jobs, the challenges they have overcome and their dedication to our customers has been outstanding. The customer is at the center of everything that we do. We appreciate the communities we are privileged to serve and the local leaders who continue to support our company and our employees throughout this process.”
The company will fully participate in the proposed settlement docket to be established by the Commission on July 6. The company will make any future announcements as to the status of the project based on the outcome of that process or future Commission action.