Mississippi utility inks deal on troubled $7.5B power plant

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Regulators have reached a settlement with Mississippi Power Co. on how much customers should pay for a troubled $7.5 billion power plant once touted as the future of coal.

The unit of Atlanta-based Southern Co. is agreeing to lower the price tag on its Kemper County power plant by $85 million, its second round of concessions in two weeks. Shareholders have already lost $6 billion.

Virden Jones, executive director of the Public Utilities Staff, said the last parties signed the deal Friday, days before rate hearings were scheduled to start Monday.

Customers could soon pay less than they're now paying for the plant's natural-gas burning portion.

The Mississippi Public Service Commission had said that it would delay deciding rates for months if the company couldn't reach a deal with staff.