Solar panels at the Naval Battalion Center in Gulfport, which generates energy for Mississippi Power's customers. Credit: Mississippi Power

Mississippi’s two state-regulated power companies are now pushing back against the Public Service Commission’s new rule expanding incentives for self-generated power.

The PSC approved the new rule on self-generation, similar to net metering in other states, in July. The update expanded reimbursement rates for low-income customers and created a $3,500 rebate for homeowners and small businesses looking to install their own renewable energy system, such as rooftop solar panels. The rule also adds incentives for public schools looking to use solar panels.

But last month, Entergy Mississippi and Mississippi Power both filed motions with the PSC to reconsider those changes. The power companies both question whether the commission even has the authority to create such incentives.

The PSC granted a new hearing, set for Sept. 27.

Utility companies like Entergy and Mississippi Power have long argued that expanding self-generation creates added costs for non-participating customers. Clean energy advocates say those companies just want to monopolize power distribution, and point to the long-term benefits of growing the renewable energy industry in the state.

Northern District Commissioner Brandon Presley said his goal is to find a compromise before next week’s rehearing and avoid litigation, which he said could take two to three years and would pause Mississippi’s self-generation programs.

“It would be a travesty to be hung up in court for two to three years, and the result of that appeal process is not one residential or Solar-for-Schools project gets done,” Presley said.

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Alex Rozier, from New York City, is Mississippi Today’s data and environment reporter. His work has appeared in the Boston Globe, Open Secrets, and on In 2019, Alex was a grantee through the Pulitzer Center’s Connected Coastlines program, which supported his coverage around the impact of climate change on Mississippi fisheries.