SEC investigating Southern Company over Kemper Project

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By Steve Wilson  /   May 5, 2016 / www.mississippiwatchdog.org

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is conducting an investigation of Southern Company and its subsidiary Mississippi Power over costs and delays at the Kemper Project clean coal power plant.

Photo by Mississippi Power OVERHEAD VIEW: The estimated cost of the Kemper Project clean coal power plant increased by $51 million in March.

Photo by Mississippi Power
OVERHEAD VIEW: The estimated cost of the Kemper Project clean coal power plant increased by $51 million in March.

The company revealed the investigation Thursday in a 10-K filing.

The Southern Company said in the filing that the investigation is focused on the pre-2010 timeframe and centers on “accounting matters, disclosure controls and procedures, and internal controls over financial reporting associated with the Kemper IGCC (integrated gasification combined cycle).”

As of March 31, the project has accrued $1.5 billion in cost overruns, according to the filing.

RELATED: Monitor: Kemper Project might not make its start date

The $6.72 billion plant, which is designed to transform lignite coal mined on site into synthesis gas for use in the facility’s electricity-generating turbines, has been beset with delays, litigation and massive cost increases. Last month, the company revealed another $60 million cost increase and further delays that will push the plant’s online date to at least September, according to an SEC filing.

The company also says that it will cost between $25 million and $35 million for each month the plant is not in operation. The plant has been generating power with natural gas since 2014.

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