- The eleven cooperative utilities of the South Mississippi Electric Power Association (SMEPA) want a rehearing from state regulators on a recently-approved net energy metering (NEM) rule providing a higher credit for solar energy-generated electricity to system owners than co-ops believe the power is worth.
- The Mississippi Public Service Commission (MPSC) ruled in December the credit will be $0.07/kWh to $0.075/kWh, with a temporary $0.025/kWh adder. Solar advocates wanted $0.10/kWh. Investor-owned utility Entergy, Mississippi’s dominant electricity provider, proposed $0.04/kWh to $0.045/kWh.
- SMEPA and other Mississippi cooperatives argue the NEM rule constitutes rate regulation by the MPSC, but that their non-profit, member-owned status makes them self-regulated and independent of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), and MPSC governance.
SMEPA objects to the costs of the credit and argues that the reduced bills paid by net metering customers shifts unfair costs for grid upkeep to non-solar customers. Solar advocates argue distributed solar offers system benefits such deferred transmission-distribution system expenses.
The benefits of solar PV with NEM in Mississippi are greater than the costs in all but one scenario, according to a report from research and consulting firm Synapse Energy Economics, published in autumn 2014.
The study found distributed solar can help avoid significant infrastructure investments, take pressure off the state's oil and gas peaking resources, and put downward pressure on rates.
Increased distributed solar will, however, likely reduce Mississippi utilities’ revenues, the study concluded, but Value of Solar Tariffs (VOST) or other alternative solar valuations might spread the costs and benefits of solar PV equally over the consumer pool and protect utilities.