Mississippi Public Service Commission

Clean energy: incentives for self-generated renewables

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New incentives for self-generated renewables a ‘win for clean energy’

The on Tuesday added a new rebate and low-income credits in its updated rule on compensating homeowners for generating renewable power.  

With hopes of growing the number of Mississippians self-generating renewable power, the PSC announced a $3,500 rebate for home and small business owners purchasing a system such as rooftop solar panels, as well as higher payments to households earning up to 250% of the federal poverty level.   

“These new rules will make Mississippi open to business to clean energy technology developers, manufacturers, and installers, and will help boost low-income opportunities allowing Mississippians to experience the cost-saving benefits of solar energy,” Central District Public Service Commissioner Brent Bailey said. 

Net metering works by customers selling any extra renewable power they generate back to their utility company. 

Mississippi has the second-lowest number of participants – roughly 300, as of February –  among states with a net metering law. It also was one of the last states to adopt net metering, starting the program in 2015. 

Clean energy advocates were critical of the original rule because, unlike in most states, net metering customers in Mississippi aren’t reimbursed at the retail price for their generated power.

The PSC’s regulated utility companies – Entergy Mississippi and – pushed back against expanding net metering, arguing that paying too much money in incentives puts an unfair cost burden on non-participating customers. 

Although the new rule announced this week didn’t raise the reimbursement rate, Mississippi Sierra Club director Louie Miller called it a “win for the clean energy sector.”

“I applaud the commission on what they did, I think they really stepped up,” Miller said. “As we’ve seen with the price of natural gas and with how volatile fossil fuels are, this is going to give a lot of people the option to self-generate their electricity.”

Between the new $3,500 rebate and federal rebates available to self-generating customers, those homeowners are going to “see some real money,” he explained. Miller also pointed to long-term benefits of self-generation, such as during storms when customers lose connection to their utility’s power grid.  

Among other changes, the new rule allows the PSC to go back and make changes once the threshold for net metering customers – which increased from 3% of a utility company’s peak demand to 4% – is met, giving the commission more flexibility. The changes also lock in whatever reimbursement rate a customer is receiving for the next 25 years. 

This article first appeared on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

PSC announces $300 million settlement with Entergy

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Alleging Entergy ‘over-profited’ from Grand Gulf, PSC announces $300 million settlement

The announced a $300 million settlement on Thursday with Entergy Mississippi over profits the company received in running the Grand Gulf Nuclear Power Station in Port Gibson.

The settlement, the largest in the PSC’s history, ends Mississippi’s involvement in a multi-state dispute with Entergy. As part of the agreement, $200 million of the settlement will go towards offsetting rising natural gas costs for customers, $35 million will go towards direct payments or bill credits to Mississippi ratepayers, and the remaining $65 million will go towards savings for future mitigation costs.

The $35 million in direct rebates from the settlement will be divvied up and amount to about $80 per Entergy Mississippi customer. Customers can choose to use that money as a credit towards their electric bill or get the amount in a check.

The PSC said in its press release that without the $200 million for offsetting rising natural gas costs, Mississippians would have seen an extra $15 on their electric bills starting in 2023.

The PSC first brought the dispute to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in 2017 over “certain accounting and financing aspects” of the nuclear plant, the PSC said in a release.

When a utility company, in this case Entergy, builds or operates a power plant, the company gets a return on investment for those costs, agreed to by the regulatory body. Because the power from Grand Gulf is sold wholesale, FERC regulates the prices that the energy is sold for.

The PSC alleged to FERC, which ruled on the settlement, that Entergy’s return on investment was higher than what FERC originally allowed. As a result, Entergy made more than it should have from charges that were passed onto customers, Northern District Commissioner Brandon Presley explained.

“Their return on equity was more than what it should have been,” he said. “That’s agreed to by the FERC. We were arguing that profitability was inflated and actually should have been less of a cost and translating to lower rates for Mississippians.”

Separately, Entergy’s other subsidiaries in Arkansas, Louisiana and the city of New Orleans are also facing litigation over Grand Gulf’s services. The regulators for those service areas are alleging that the station doesn’t run as effectively as other nuclear plants and charges customers for the plant to run even when it isn’t producing power, among other complaints.

Those three other regulators are also challenging the Mississippi PSC’s decision to increase output from the Grand Gulf station years ago, Presley said.

Mississippi Public Service Commissioners Brandon Presley, Dane Maxwell and Brent Bailey announcing a $300 million settlement with Entergy Mississippi on July 23, 2022.

“That plant provides some of the lowest cost electricity that Mississippi is getting, with zero carbon emissions,” Presley said.

In addition to the $300 million, the settlement also puts a moratorium on Entergy’s future return on investment for the power station, Presley added.

In a statement Thursday, Entergy said that the “taxing, financing, accounting and operating of Grand Gulf before FERC are proper, well-reasoned and in the best interest of its customers and the company.

“However, Entergy officials explained that the ongoing cost of the dispute at FERC and the uncertainty it created for customers, employees and stockholders led the company to seek a resolution,” the utility provider said.

This article first appeared on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

MS Public Service Commission approves water system

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www.wxxv25.com – WXXV Staff

The has approved the acquisition of 26 water and wastewater systems in Mississippi.

Great River Utility Operating Company will serve about 6,800 connections across the state. Great River is a division of Central States Water Resources, one of the 15 largest investor-owned utilities in the…

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