Mississippi to surpass Alabama in energy efficiency?

Guest Blog | February 7, 2013 | Energy Efficiency, Utilities

Slow and steady wins the race, they say. Though Alabama was off to a better start,  it’s beginning to look like the state of Mississippi is going to surpass Alabama in their support for energy efficiency in the near future!

As I wrote about 18 months ago, Mississippi Public Service Commission (PSC) released proposed energy efficiency rules for comment in docket 2010-AD-2. After reviewing the comments that stakeholders (including 25×25 and SACE) submitted, the PSC determined that an Economic Impact Statement was needed in order to evaluate the financial impact the proposed rules would have on Mississippians. The Economic Impact Statement was released in November 2012, and the MPSC gave stakeholders another opportunity to provide review and to offer comments on both the proposed rules, and the Economic Impact Statement.

Many different parties submitted comments, including 25×25 and SACE. Our comments are divided into three main points. First, we supported the findings of the Economic Impact Statement that energy efficiency will accrue several key benefits to Mississippi, including:

– Reduced energy consumption,

– Reduced need for new generating capacity,

– Reduced water consumption, and

– Job growth.

Next, we discussed how the current efforts by TVA and Mississippi Power provide the building blocks for the Quick Start energy efficiency programs that are in the proposed energy efficiency rules. (The Quick Start programs are just that: Energy efficiency programs that the utilities would be required to implement quickly, which is defined as within 4 months of the Commission approving the proposed rules.) The table below shows what programs TVA and Mississippi Power are currently offering that align with the Quick Start programs discussed in the proposed rules.

Table 1. Quick Start Programs TVA and Mississippi Power are Currently Offering

Quick Start Programs

TVA

Mississippi Power

Program

2012 Savings (GWh

Program

Customer Education

Online Energy Check Up and Home Energy Toolkit

Energy Audits Leading to Savings

Self-Audit

9

None

Inspection and Tune Up of HVAC

In Home Energy Evaluation

26 (entire IHEE program, not just HVAC)

None

Lighting

Retail Lighting

6

None

Appliances

None

0

EarthCents residential rebates for electric hot water heaters, heat pumps, and ductless HVAC

Demand Response

Third party and voltage control programs

~20

Residential Direct Load Control (pending approval)

Weatherization and Whole Home Retrofits

Weatherization Assistance Program

42

None

New Homes

New Homes

11

EarthCents New Homes

Commercial and Industrial Prescriptive Incentive

Business Standard Rebates

263

EarthCents Commercial Incentives for electric HVAC, hot water and cooking equipment

Commercial and Industrial Custom Incentive

Business Custom Rebates

Technical assistance

Commercial and Industrial Retro-Commissioning

None

0

None

Total Savings (GWh)

377

15

 

Because our regional focus does not include Arkansas and Louisiana, Entergy’s energy efficiency programs are not included;  it is worth noting, however, that the Quick Start model that is included in the Mississippi Public Service Commission’s proposed efficiency rules is very similar to the efficiency rules passed in Arkansas in 2010. The order adopting Arkansas’ energy efficiency rules set electric and gas utility energy savings targets.  In short, what the Mississippi Public Service Commission is proposing is not a radical idea. It has been tried and tested by neighboring states already.

Finally, our comments discussed the importance of collaboration between all stakeholders if Mississippi wants to continue to explore implementing the energy efficiency rules. However, we noted that Mississippi Power is already ahead of the game, surpassing Alabama Power in both absolute gigawatt-hour (million kilowatt-hours) and as a percentage of retail sales. The race is on and here comes Mississippi, catching up on the back stretch!

Table 2. Savings and Retail Sales for Southern Company, 2011 (GWh)

2011 Energy Efficiency Savings2011 Retail SalesSavings as a Percentage of Sales
Alabama Power1366,3000.02%
Georgia Power13084,3000.15%
Gulf Power3911,0400.34%
Mississippi Power159,5680.16%

The next step in the process is for the Mississippi Public Service Commission to set the schedule for the rest of the docket. We anticipate that the Commission will do this during their regular meeting at the beginning of March. Stay tuned, and check our blog in the coming weeks to find out if the Tortoise or the Hare comes out on top!

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