Kemper Plant costs more than $15,000 per customer

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While ratepayers usage of electricity varies, it’s illuminating to see how much Mississippi Power’s Kemper plant would cost on a per customer basis.

Of course, all ratepayers are not equal. How much you pay depends on a variety of factors: how much energy you use, whether you’re a business or an individual, etc. That said, it is very illuminating to see how much Mississippi Power’s Kemper plant project would cost on a per customer basis.

Before working in numbers for ongoing maintenance, fuel, and other future costs associated with the proposed Kemper power plant, a low-ball number just for the cost per ratepayer to build the plant is over $15,000.

Two things to keep in mind:

For Mississippi Power to break-even, natural gas would have to be priced at $12/MMBtu in 2014 and trending to $18/MMBtu by 2035. Yet, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that natural gas prices will stay below $5 through 2024.

And, as we’ve pointed out before, the technology of the plant–lignite gasification–is experimental. To be sure, technological innovation always entails risk. Yet, due to the nature of public utilities, Mississippi Power will reap the rewards if all goes well, while ratepayers will be on the hook even if the experiment fails.

What do you think, does Kemper seem fair to you?

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