The Jackson County Welcome Center in Moss Point, Mississippi. The Mississippi Public Service Commission has approved new rules that will help provide utility customers several pathways to increase energy efficiency. | Photo courtesy of Energy and Natural Resources Division, Mississippi Development Authority
An economic impact statement issued by the Mississippi Public Service Commission indicates new energy efficiency rules could potentially save the state’s consumers $2.3 billion by 2034 and create 9,500 jobs by 2030. This approach could serve as a model for energy efficiency practices in other states.
The rules, unanimously approved by the commission in July, require electric and natural gas utility companies to offer customers several pathways to increase energy efficiency, including but not limited to:
- Energy audits
- Home weatherization programs
- Appliance and lighting rebate programs
- Financing for construction companies to make new homes and commercial buildings more energy efficient
The first or “quick start” phase requires utilities in Mississippi under commission jurisdiction with more than 25,000 customers to submit their energy conservation plan by January. The utilities are expected to deliver a comprehensive portfolio of energy efficiency program plans within three years of the approval of the Quick Start programs. Utilities with fewer than 25,000 customers are exempt from filing quick start plans, but will be required to submit energy efficiency program plans feasible to implement for their organizations' size.
Coupled with other legislation and Governor Bryant’s Energy Works: Mississippi’s Energy Roadmap, the new rules signal a major shift in energy policy for the state. This year, Mississippi topped the list of most improved states on the 2013 American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s Energy Efficiency Scorecard.The milestone also highlights a successful effort led by Mississippi Development Authority’s Energy & Natural Resources Division and the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance to build strong support for the rules backed by several stakeholders throughout Mississippi, including utilities, small businesses, consumer groups, workforce development advocates and low-income communities. This work was supported by the Energy Department’s Weatherization and Intergovernmental Program Office through competitive funding made available by the State Energy Program. The funding is designed to spur action on energy efficiency throughout the country by encouraging states to adopt high-impact policies and programs that help save energy and money.
For more information on Mississippi’s energy legislation, visit Mississippi.org.