Energy usage at all time highs for June while PSC attempts to keep costs reasonable.
As energy prices skyrocket due to increased consumption and the cost of production, Commissioner for the Northern District of Mississippi, Brandon Presley, said the Public Service Commission (PSC) is taking steps to mitigate the impact on residents’ wallets.
Mississippi’s energy needs are serviced by several entities that include 26 electric cooperatives, Entergy, Mississippi Power and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) which covers most of North Mississippi as well as parts in the Central and East parts of the state.
TVA announced that June 14th was the fourth highest day of electric use in June in TVA’s history. The usage has been driven by the extremely hot weather much of the South has been experiencing with common temperatures in the mid-90’s.
Due to the increase in usage and nationwide concerns regarding energy production, TVA has encouraged customers to conserve energy by doing several things, including:
- Setting your thermostat no lower than 78 degrees.
- Using ceiling fans to keep air flowing when you’re at home.
- Remembering to turn a fan off when you leave the room.
- Putting off chores that involve electric appliances, such as dishwashing and laundry, during peak power times (10 a.m.-8 p.m.)
- Using the microwave instead of the oven for cooking your meals.
- Turning off lights when you leave the room and unplug unused electronics.
- Keeping garage doors closed as much as possible. This will help slow hot air from trickling into your home.
- Keeping curtains and blinds closed on the sunny side of your home to block out some of the heat, while opening blinds on the shady side to provide natural lighting without raising the temperature.
While these requests can seem strange, they are not unprecedented.
Commissioner Presley said they have seen these recommendations before at other points of high temperatures and increased energy usage.
He also encouraged Mississippi customers to consider budget billing as a way to anticipate months with extreme costs compared to months with lower energy usage. He said these plans help to stabilize monthly payments.
Entergy joined the TVA on Monday in sending similar encouragements to customers, Entergy, the largest energy provider in the state, which operates under MISO, has been under a Max Gen alert which means anything that is not needed for public safety will be cancelled.
They also encouraged Mississippians to buy a programmable thermostat to help manage temperatures in your home while away. Certain programs like myAdvisor on myentergy.com can help you see when you use the most energy and compare your usage history by month, day and hour to make adjustments.
“When there is a big difference between inside and outside temperatures, it takes more energy to maintain a pleasant climate in your home,” said the Entergy release. “Since heating and cooling costs make up about 55% of the typical customer’s electric bill, taking steps to save energy can help keep bills low when temperatures are hot.”
Presley said power plants anticipate these events especially approaching summer months.
“If you’ve got power plants that might be down for routine maintenance, a lot of times they’ll cancel those because of the high heat demand, and continue operating to meet that demand,” said Presley.
While consumption is rising, Presley said the commission is not anticipating higher rates than usual for summer months. He said they are looking at options that would lower costs which will be announced in the coming weeks.
“Consumers are pinched at the gas pump and we are looking to bring rates down as low as possible,” said Presley.
Presley reported that all demands had been met and would be met according to MISO.
Regarding the response to the energy crisis nationally, Presley said he believes the Biden Administration and Congress should be taking an “all hands on deck” approach.
“People are rightfully ticked off at gas prices. There should be more attention paid to this issue because it is squeezing working families and small business owners unbelievably,” said Presley. “The trickledown effect in the economy is something we should all be concerned with.”
Commissioner Presley said he was of the opinion that both parties look diligently to pursue energy independence in the United States, as much as is possible in the modern world. He added that while he could not pinpoint a “fix all,” the PSC is looking at ways to cut consumer costs especially with natural gas costs on the rise and widely used in Mississippi.