HOUSTON Jan 28 Southern Co will take a
$25 million charge in the 2013 fourth quarter as the cost for
its coal-gasification power plant in Kemper County, Mississippi,
climbs to more than $5 billion, the company said in a filing
with regulators on Tuesday.
Southern Co, based in Atlanta, is scheduled to release
fourth-quarter earnings on Wednesday.
Southern has previously taken $704 million in charges
related to $1 billion in cost overruns at the 582-megawatt
Kemper County plant, one of only two integrated gasification
combined-cycle (IGCC) plants in the nation.
The power industry is closely watching progress at the
Kemper plant. Because it will be able to capture carbon dioxide
emissions, the Kemper plant has been cited as a model for future
coal design by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency which
has proposed strict limits on carbon pollution from coal-fired
Southern said the latest cost increase "reflects an increase
in the contingency for risks associated with start-up
Mississippi Power, Southern's smallest utility, owns the
plant and can only recover up to $3.8 billion of the Kemper
costs through customer rates and the sale of securitized bonds.
Customers began paying higher rates related to the plant last
year after a lengthy regulatory battle.
At the time the plant was proposed, it was expected to cost
about $2 billion.
Completion of the Kemper plant has been delayed by about six
months to the fourth quarter of 2014.