Mississippi may soon jump ahead of Louisiana when it comes to energy efficiency.
Mississippi, which ranked dead last on ACEEE’s most recent energy efficiency scorecard, recently adopted policy that could easily place the state above Louisiana in future rankings.
On July 11, the Mississippi Public Service Commission unanimously voted to approve policy (Rule 29) requiring utility companies serving Mississippi to carry out programs and implement standards designed to incentivize and promote energy efficiency for Mississippi’s ratepayers.
Rule 29’s approval comes just 2 weeks after the Louisiana Public Service Commission voted to reinstate its own energy efficiency program. The difference? Mississippi has a set timeline for enacting these changes that requires compliance with the Rule 29 and mandates Quick Start plans from the utility companies within 6 months. Meanwhile, modifications proposed by Louisiana Public Service Commission staff on July 3rd would substantially backtrack on several key provisions in the energy efficiency policy for our state. The proposed modifications include changing the policy wording to remove the requirement that utility companies comply with the energy and money saving program rules, instead making participation a voluntary choice by the utilities themselves. The Alliance and a large number of interested parties have filed our opposition to these changes, which we hope will be corrected when the LPSC votes at their next meeting on July 31st. While we tread water, our neighboring states are enacting policy that puts energy efficiency to work for their ratepayers.
In the short term, Mississippi’s Rule 29 requires that utility providers serving more than 25,000 customers implement a Quick Start plan within 6 months. The Quick Start plans will combine energy auditing, efficiency education, as well as incentives for energy efficient appliance and physical upgrades for homes and businesses.
All Mississippi utility providers, regardless of size, will also be required to file Comprehensive Portfolio plans outlining their compliance with Rule 29’s new efficiency standards and goals. These plans cover 1-3 years and will help establish and ensure the future of energy efficiency in Mississippi over the long term. Rule 29 will have an estimated lifetime retail savings of $2,340,917,000 through 2034 and will add an estimated 6,900 jobs for Mississippi by 2020.
Following the vote, Mississippi Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley commented, “This program will save customers money, utilize our natural resources efficiently, and create thousands of new jobs for our people. How much more of a win-win situation can we get? I am proud to have made the motion to make this a reality.”