Monday, August 17, 2015

Moody's downgrades Mississippi Power debt.

Moody's rating service issued the following statement:


Moody's Investors Service, ("Moody's") downgraded Mississippi Power Company's senior unsecured rating to Baa2 from Baa1 and its preferred stock rating to Ba1 from Baa3. The rating outlook is negative. This rating action concludes the review of Mississippi Power's rating initiated on 27 May 2015. Moody's affirmed the ratings of The Southern Company (Southern, Baa1 senior unsecured) with a stable outlook.

Ratings Rationale

"The downgrade of Mississippi Power's ratings reflects the lack of permanent cost recovery provisions in place for the Kemper IGCC plant since the Mississippi Supreme Court invalidated the utility's 2013 rate plan earlier this year," said Michael G. Haggarty, Associate Managing Director. "The downgrade also considers the increased concentration risk, financial exposure and liquidity pressure on the utility following the exit of its electric cooperative utility partner from a planned 15% ownership in the Kemper plant," added Haggarty.

Although the Mississippi Public Service Commission (MPSC) approved interim rates by a two to one margin yesterday, providing the utility with some limited, potentially refundable rate relief on the plant's in-service assets and averting a potentially more negative rating action, there is still no permanent cost recovery plan in place for the Kemper plant. The lack of a unanimous decision on a utility's appeal for emergency financial relief is a particular credit concern. In addition, some interveners may challenge the approval of these interim rates.

The negative outlook reflects the financial uncertainty still facing Mississippi Power as it strives to obtain permanent rate relief on the Kemper plant with only two of the three commissioners supportive. Under a scheduling order issued by the MPSC earlier this week, hearings on designating these interim rates as permanent, including determining the prudency of the costs incurred for the in-service assets, are scheduled for November with a final order to be issued by 8 December 2015.

Near-term approval of some permanent rate relief on the Kemper plant has become all the more important because of the upcoming change in the composition of the MPSC on 1 January 2016 following elections this November. Several of the candidates running for the MPSC have voiced their opposition to the Kemper plant, as well as for the rate increases necessary for the utility recover the costs incurred under the MPSC's previously established construction cost cap. A less credit supportive regulatory commission in place without some permanent rates in effect will likely lead to a further rating downgrade.

The negative outlook also reflects Mississippi Power's constrained liquidity position and high reliance on parent company Southern for liquidity support. As a result of the Supreme Court decision, the MPSC ordered the utility to stop collecting the rates that had been in place since 2013 and to submit a plan for refunding those amounts already collected. The approximately $350 million of refunds will put additional stress on Mississippi Power's cash flow coverage metrics and increase its reliance on the Southern parent company for intercompany loans and other financial support.

Mississippi Power already borrowed $301 million from Southern in June through an 18-month promissory note to fund the return of the deposit to South Mississippi Electric, its former 15% partner in the Kemper project. For external financing, the utility is relying almost exclusively on short-term bank term loans ($900 million due 1 April 2016) in anticipation of a potential securitization of a portion of the Kemper costs, approval of which is by no means assured.

The Kemper project continues to be affected by schedule delays and cost increases and Mississippi Power now expects the plant to begin commercial operation during the first half of 2016. Construction of the plant is complete and its combined cycle has been in-service since 9 August 2014. .....

An upgrade of Mississippi Power is highly unlikely while there are no permanent cost recovery provisions in place and while the utility is midst of completing and testing the Kemper plant. Ratings could only be upgraded if there is an MPSC approved plan for the ultimate recovery of costs up to the current $2.88 billion regulatory approved cap, if the MPSC remains credit supportive following the election of new commissioners this November, and if the utility successfully executes an anticipated lengthy start-up and testing phase. Any upgrade would also be predicated on an improvement in credit metrics to levels more commensurate with a high Baa ratings, including CFO pre-working capital to debt of at least 20% on a sustained basis. ....  Rest of statement.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is this junk status?

Anonymous said...

Thank you KF. Nothing about this on the C-L site yet. Guess it will be there tomorrow?

Anonymous said...

Will Southern allow MPC to file bankruptcy? Kemper is turning into a very expensive mistake that everyone but lobbyists and MPC saw coming.

Anonymous said...

Doubt that they'd file bankruptcy since all the debt is owed to Southern. SO will just have to eat some more. After all, these bright ideas were pushed in ATL.

Anonymous said...

Does this mean the Barbour family fortune is at risk now? They would have a large exposure to this wouldn't they?

Anonymous said...

Here is where MPC can start cutting:

http://www1.salary.com/MISSISSIPPI-POWER-CO-Executive-Salaries.html

Anonymous said...

With natural gas at $2.73 MMBtu yesterday, surely they should just continue to run the plant on natural gas.

Running the plant on lignite/syn gas drops the output from 730 MW as now on NG to 582,MW on syn gas due to the parasitic load of the gassifier. Let's see: Less electricity for a lot more costs to ratepayers. Good luck selling that.

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.


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Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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