Problems persist for Mississippi Power in Kemper County

A view of Mississippi Power’s Kemper County energy facility during its first Syngas production in July 2016. (courtesy)

Mississippi Power’s struggles persist as the Southern Company subsidiary announced that its controversial Kemper County energy facility is not yet fully operational.

The company said in a media statement that the monthly status report on the 582-megawatt electric power plant is due to be submitted to the Mississippi Public Service Commission Thursday and the company is still assessing the project’s schedule and cost.

During the life of project, Mississippi Power has partnered with 560 companies within the state, including contractors, suppliers and vendors. The contracts are valued at more than $2 billion.

Mississippi Power is expected to file its monthly project status with the PSC on Monday, which will provide a full update on the facility’s progress. A rate filing is also expected to accompany the project status report.

The facility is positioned approximately 20 miles north of Meridian.

The SDN reported in May that the company had once again extended the in-service date for the new energy facility, while tacking on an additional $38 million to the overall cost of the project.

The company has run into problems with tubing leaks in its gasifiers, which had presented the biggest challenge in getting the facility to run at a full clip.

Amid maintenance issues over the past few months, the latest in-service date was slated for May 31.

Mississippi Power said last month that any extension past the May 31 in-service date is estimated to result in additional base costs of roughly $25 million to $35 million per month.

Construction first began on the project in 2008, but no firm timetable has been provided setting a new expected in-service date.

The total cost of the facility currently tops $7 billion.

Once the plant is operational, it is expected to generate approximately 500 permanent jobs at the facility and adjacent lignite mine. Mississippi Power has said it expects the facility to increase Mississippi’s income by roughly $42 million in the first year of full operation, while royalty payments related to the mine and oil recover could net approximately $49 million.

Additionally, the company aims to create 1,300 direct and indirect jobs with a payroll of around $79 million.

Mississippi Power currently provides services to 187,000 customers in 23 southeast Mississippi counties.