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Kemper project reaches major milestone with commercial operation of combined cycle unit

GULFPORT, Miss., Aug. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Mississippi Power announced today that the Kemper County energy facility's combined cycle has been placed into commercial operation marking the facility's most significant milestone to date.

Mississippi Power logo

Putting the combined cycle unit into operation means it will be available to serve Mississippi Power customers' energy needs during the remaining summer months.

"This is a major success for the Kemper project, and it's all thanks to the men and women who have worked safely and dedicated their time and hard work to make it happen," said Vice President of Generation Development John Huggins.

A combined cycle unit is among the most efficient forms of generating electricity for large-scale power production.

The unit was originally synchronized to the grid on Oct. 5, 2013 during testing using natural gas as fuel. Over the past 11 months, critical testing was done on various components. The testing culminated with the combined cycle unit passing all applicable performance and environmental tests and being made available at full output for commercial operation.

During the course of the testing, the Kemper combined cycle unit logged more than 1,200 hours on line generating power for homes and businesses. To date, the Kemper combined cycle unit has generated enough energy to supply 23,000 homes for a year.

This milestone is the next in a series of milestones reached over the last two months at the Kemper County energy facility. The project already reached two major milestones last month with the testing of the combined cycle unit and pressure testing of both gasifiers.

Another significant milestone – the first gasifier heat up – is scheduled for later this year.  

The gasifiers at Kemper are the core of the integrated gasification process, which will be used to convert lignite into synthesis gas. The use of Mississippi lignite adds fuel diversity at low costs and stable prices for Mississippi Power's customers.

Construction progress continues at the Kemper County energy facility which will use innovative clean coal technology to deliver safe, reliable and made-in-Mississippi electricity to Mississippi Power customers. The 582-megawatt generating facility is scheduled to begin operation in the second quarter 2015.

Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), produces safe, reliable and environmentally responsible energy for more than 186,000 customers in 23 southeast Mississippi counties. Recognized throughout the utility industry for excellence in storm restoration and recovery efforts, Mississippi Power is the 2013 winner of the Edison Electric Institute's Emergency Assistance Award. As a leader in safety, Mississippi Power ranked first in the 2013 Southeastern Electric Exchange (SEE) Safety Performance Reports. Visit our websites at mississippipower.com and mississippipowernews.com, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements:
Certain information contained in this release is forward-looking information based on current expectations and plans that involve risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking information includes, among other things, statements concerning the schedule for the completion of construction and start-up of the Kemper IGCC.  Mississippi Power cautions that there are certain factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking information that has been provided. The reader is cautioned not to put undue reliance on this forward-looking information, which is not a guarantee of future performance and is subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside the control of Mississippi Power; accordingly, there can be no assurance that such suggested results will be realized. The following factors, in addition to those discussed in Mississippi Power's Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2013, and subsequent securities filings, could cause actual results to differ materially from management expectations as suggested by such forward-looking information: the impact of recent and future federal and state regulatory changes, as well as changes in application of existing laws and regulations; current and future litigation, regulatory investigations, proceedings, or inquiries; available sources and costs of fuels; state and federal rate regulations and the impact of pending and future rate cases and negotiations, including rate actions relating to fuel and other cost recovery mechanisms; ability to control costs and avoid cost overruns during the development and construction of facilities, which include designs that have not been finalized or previously constructed, including changes in labor costs and productivity factors, adverse weather conditions, shortages and inconsistent quality of equipment, materials, and labor, contractor or supplier delay, non-performance under construction or other agreements, operational performance, operational readiness, unforeseen engineering or design problems, delays associated with start-up activities (including major equipment failure and system integration), and/or operations; ability to construct facilities in accordance with the requirements of permits and licenses to satisfy any operational and environmental performance standards, including any Mississippi Public Service Commission (PSC) requirements and the requirements of tax credits and other incentives, and to integrate facilities into the Southern Company system upon completion of construction; advances in technology; actions related to cost recovery for the Kemper IGCC, including actions relating to proposed securitization, Mississippi PSC approval of Mississippi Power's proposed rate recovery plan, as ultimately amended, which currently includes the ability to complete the proposed sale of an interest in the Kemper IGCC to South Mississippi Electric Power Association, the ability to utilize bonus depreciation, which currently requires that assets be placed in service in 2014, and satisfaction of requirements to utilize investment tax credits and grants; Mississippi PSC review of the prudence of Kemper IGCC costs; the outcome of any legal or regulatory proceedings regarding the Mississippi PSC's issuance of the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for the Kemper IGCC, the settlement agreement between Mississippi Power and the Mississippi PSC, the March 2013 rate order, or the State of Mississippi legislation designed to enhance the Mississippi PSC's authority to facilitate development and construction of baseload generation in the State of Mississippi; and the ability of counterparties of Mississippi Power to make payments as and when due and to perform as required. Mississippi Power expressly disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking information.

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SOURCE Mississippi Power

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