New policies discussed for solar users
The Mississippi Public Service Commission has opened a docket to investigate the development of net metering and interconnection standards.
Hedgeman meter system
Net metering programs enable customers to generate their own electricity and receive retail prices, or in some cases, premiums over retail price for excess power. The Commission already has a rule in place regarding net metering, but uniform utility standards have not been created.
Mississippians receive energy from federal power producer TVA or the investor-owned utilities, Entergy Mississippi and Mississippi Power Company. Co-ops and electric power associations are non-profit entities that buy electricity from different sources to provide the cheapest power to customers.
Since it is a federal entity, Mississippi has no control over TVA net metering or interconnection standards. TVA has a Generation Partners program in place for net metering customers.
Both Entergy and Mississippi Power have expressed concern to the Commission about interconnecting customers being held responsible for paying their fair share of interconnecting and also about safety issues.
Andy Stone with meter
Additionally, in a letter to the Commission Entergy said it must address whether net metering is “being used to jump-start commercial enterprises that hope to sell higher priced electricity than the utility can provide to customers” and whether “other (non-net metering) customers (will) have to pay costs caused by or not paid by net metering customers.”
Renewable energy initiative 25 X ’25 wants Mississippi to join the 46 others states that it says have adopted uniform net metering standards. The initiative, led by Brent Bailey, said in a letter to the Commission that utilities should not be allowed to restrict customer eligibility, charge unclear fees or require unreasonable liability insurance.
The Mississippi Technology Alliance has also intervened in the net metering docket. The director of Strategic Biomass Solutions, housed under the MTA, Dr. Sumesh Arora wrote that “Utilizing renewable energy resources is a way for consumers to reduce demand for fuels like coal and natural gas that are used to generate electricity.”