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Corporate Walkover in Progress: The Case of the Southern Company’s “Clean Coal” Plant in Mississippi

Klinedinst, Mark (2014): Corporate Walkover in Progress: The Case of the Southern Company’s “Clean Coal” Plant in Mississippi.

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Abstract

The project to create an experimental “clean coal” plant in Mississippi is funded by electric utility customers in the poorest state in the United States. The incentives for the project come from the industry capturing the Public Service Commission of Mississippi. The controversial incentives stipulate that the Southern Company can earn a return on money spent to create electrical infrastructure, even if the experimental plant never produces any electricity. The Southern Company’s Kemper County Mississippi “Radcliffe” Plant, originally estimated to cost about $1.2 billion, is approaching $6 billion dollars, is still not operational, and may never be a profitable facility. Despite this, over 180,000 of America’s poorest citizens are expected to foot the bill. Although this is one of the most intense examples of corporate welfare, the “Radcliffe” Plant is hardly the only current case in the utility industry. The “Public Service Commission” of Mississippi facilitated this large transfer of income from ratepayers to investors in this monopoly.

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