By JEFF AMY
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Regulatory hearings beginning next week may not, after all, set final rates for a $7.5 billion Mississippi Power Co. plant.
In a Tuesday order, the Mississippi Public Service Commission says it won't immediately impose a ruling concerning the Kemper County plant if parties don't settle.
Although they might adopt a settlement proposed by Mississippi Power, commissioners said that otherwise they'll restart a separate rate-making proceeding. That could mean months more uncertainty over how much customers will pay.
Commissioners said in June that customers shouldn't pay for part of the plant meant to gasify coal and remove pollutants. The Public Utilities Staff argues Mississippi Power wants to recover some costs inflated by gasifier spending. Around $150 million is disputed, and the unit of Atlanta-based Southern Co. refuses to incur further losses.
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