An eight-year struggle over a troubled “clean-coal” power plant came to an end Tuesday before the Mississippi Public Service Commission.
The commissioners voted unanimously during a meeting to bring the case to a close and then discussed at a press conference that the resolution of the Mississippi Power Co. case would actually mean a 2.4 percent reduction in bills for the average residential bill.
The coal-gasification plant never achieved successful commercial operation of turning lignite coal into “syngas.” The commission ordered that the company could never operate the gasification aspect of the plant and charge ratepayers for that.
The concept was to provide cheaper energy but the price of natural gas dropped to historic lows because of advances in production, primarily hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
The commission ordered the utility to continue to operate solely on natural, which it has been doing since August 2014.
The project in Kemper County swelled to a cost of $7.5 billion from the initial estimate of $2.9 billion. Early in the case with its numerous hearings and 450,000 pages of testimony there had been some speculation was that the plant could lead to double-digit increases.