Commissioner Maxwell, who voted against the update, wants to make sure Mississippians won’t take on any additional costs.
In mid-July, the Mississippi Public Service Commission voted 2-1 to update its Net Metering and Interconnection Rules.
The newly adopted rules included policies that attempt to increase solar adoption across the board while enhancing grid reliability and economic development. They also seek to improve access to solar for low- and middle-income residents.
Northern District PSC Commissioner Brandon Presley, a Democrat, and Central District PSC Commissioner Brent Bailey, a Republican, voted for the new rules. PSC Chairman and Southern District Commissioner Dane Maxwell voted against the update.
“This well-balanced rule will allow for real opportunities for the creation of good paying blue-collar jobs in the solar industry. Mississippians grow their own food and fix their own vehicles and deserve to have the chance to generate their own electricity and save themselves money. This balanced, measured approach by the PSC opens the door of opportunity,” Northern District Commissioner Presley said in July. “Also, under our Solar for Schools program, school districts will have the opportunity to maximize the value of their lands and see savings that can be passed on to taxpayers and hopefully lighten the onerous costs borne by parents and teachers for such things as classroom supplies.”
Commissioner Maxwell, however, disagreed. He said while he supports the right of Mississippians to self-supply their own electricity, his main concern is the “masses paying extra for the benefit of a few.”
“I cannot support a policy that forces Entergy or Mississippi Power Company customers who either choose not to, or cannot afford to, put solar panels on the roofs of their homes to pay more on their electric bills to finance their neighbor’s investment,” Commissioner Maxwell told Y’all Politics.
Now, just weeks after the vote to update the net metering rules, PSC Commissioners voted to reopen the docket regarding the rules and reconsider its actions. The move came in a special called meeting where Commissioners were also considering names to be sent to the Governor to fill the vacant Public Utility Staff Executive Director position.
Since the July vote, citizens and energy groups have raised concerns over long-term impacts the new net metering rules will have on ratepayers.
Following the vote, Chairman Maxwell released a statement that maintained his earlier position.
“Today, I voted with my fellow Commissioners to revisit the net metering rule and reevaluate what it means and what it’ll cost to utility customers,” Maxwell stated. “My position during this time of high electric and natural gas prices is to not take any action that will require Mississippians to take on any additional costs.”
A hearing on the PSC reconsideration of its vote will take place on a date to be set by the Commission.