Hearing on Mississippi Power Kemper Costs Delayed

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Jackson, Miss.

Utility regulators are again delaying hearings on whether Mississippi Power Co. should be able to get customers to pay for its Kemper County power plant.

The Mississippi Public Service Commission Tuesday delayed prudency hearings from September until after the $5.5 billion plant goes into operation.

Commissioners say they wanted to ensure the plant, which will gasify coal and generate power while removing chemicals, will work properly before judging whether the unit of Atlanta-based Southern Co. spent prudently.

The commission was scheduled to examine more than $2.75 billion in Mississippi Power spending through March 31, 2013, while another hearing for remaining costs was planned after completion. Now all spending will be examined then.

Commissioners say the delay isn't related to the settlement announced Monday between Mississippi Power and the Sierra Club.