A mischaracterization of the rules

Published 7:00 am Friday, October 30, 2015

The Picayune Item’s Oct. 8 editorial mischaracterizes the proposed rules currently under consideration by the Mississippi Public Service Commission.
Electricity consumers already have the right to sell solar energy back to the grid in Mississippi and have for many years. Coast Electric Power Association currently serves members with roof-top solar interconnected with the grid, and if any Coast Electric member would like to install roof-top solar and interconnect with the grid, there is no need to wait for any new rule from the PSC.
While the proposed rules would provide new guidance as to the procedures that must be followed to interconnect with utilities subject to PSC jurisdiction, the most significant impact of the proposed rules would be structure rates to provide a subsidy to owners of roof-top solar. This subsidy is being considered because even with thirty percent of the cost of solar panels paid for by federal tax payers, roof-top solar is still not an economic choice for most consumers in Mississippi.
The Picayune Item’s confusion as to the purpose of the proposed rule is understandable as the rule’s proponents generally describe the rule the same way, focusing on access that already exists rather than the new subsidy provided through the rule. They do so because while there is broad support for allowing people to choose to install roof-top solar, there is considerably less support for forcing other electricity consumers to pay for that choice. Electricity consumers in Mississippi deserve an accurate portrayal of the proposed rules before they are put into place by the PSC.

Ron Barnes
Vice President of Marketing, Member Services and Public Relations, Coast Electric Power Association

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