- Entergy Mississippi plans to more than double spending on energy efficiency programs next year after regulators approved a proposal from the utility last week, the Associated Press reports.
- The Mississippi PSC voted 2-1 to allow the utility to increase spending to $8.75 million in 2017, up from $3.75 million this year. The plan is expected to cost average residential customers $0.55/month.
- The utility says it will use the funds to encourage adoption of efficient lightbulbs and efficient appliances, as well as targeting efficiency savings from small business customers.
A legacy of low energy prices and conservative politics means southern states like Mississippi have not prioritized energy efficiency like many states in the north.
States in the Deep South routinely rank near the bottom of national efficiency rankings that are complied by independent organizations. Earlier this year, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, an advocacy group, ranked Mississippi 46 out of 50 in terms of energy efficiency policies and rebates.
Those findings were reflected in separate rankings from personal finance firm WalletHub, which ranked Mississippi 44 out of 48 (Alaska and Hawaii were excluded) using different parameters than ACEEE.
Utilities offered little in efficiency programs before 2013, ACEEE notes, when the PSC required all utilities with more than 25,000 customers to develop efficiency plans.
These initial "Quick Start" programs were to be implemented between 2014 and 2016, with the most successful elements being scaled up after that period. Thus far, the programs have opened up incentives for residential resources like efficient lighting and low-flow showerheads, as well as custom programs for C&I customers.
With this approval, Entergy appears to be moving out of its initial stage and toward more mature efficiency offerings. The utility will recoup its lost revenue through a cost recovery mechanism approved by the PSC in 2014.
Mississippi still has no policy to treat energy efficiency as a resource, ACEE points out, and demand-side resources do not have wholesale energy markets to access because the state is still fully regulated. Utilities themselves are required to file demand management plans and implement efficiency programs.