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Mississippi Power’s Kemper plant blows deadline after leak

After a tubing leak in part of its Kemper County power plant, Mississippi Power Co. now says it’s unsure when the $7 billion plant will be finished.

With the plant three years behind schedule, the Atlanta-based Southern Co. says it won’t meet the latest deadline of mid-March. Mississippi Power will update the schedule and cost of the plant next month.

In a Thursday stock filing, Southern says one of the plant’s gasifiers developed leaks on March 9. The two gasifiers convert soft lignite coal into synthetic gas at high pressure and temperature. The gas is burned in turbines to generate electricity.

The utility says a month’s delay would cost it $25 million to $35 million. Customers could be asked to pay another $20 million in interest and legal costs.

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