Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Mississippi is on the verge of being the last state in the union to adopt a net-metering policy. I have tried for about two years to bring the topic of net metering to the attention and action of our state legislators. Others in our state have been trying longer than I have.
I have repeatedly contacted Sen. W. Briggs Hopson III, R-Vicksburg, Rep. George Flaggs Jr., D-Vicksburg, and Rep. Alex Monsour, R-Vicksburg, who represent my county of residence, Warren County. Sen. Hopson is the only one who has ever responded, but he showed no interest in pushing or supporting net metering.
If you are not familiar with net metering, consider learning more about it. Briefly, net metering requires public electricity providers, like Entergy, to credit customers' accounts if the customers generate their own electricity. The energy provider is required to allow customers to connect and send their excess electricity into the grid.
By adopting a net-metering policy, the state could open job opportunities to small Mississippi companies at no taxpayer cost. A net-metering policy does not require interest-free state loans to out-of-state companies for unproven technologies, as has been done recently with KiOR. A net-metering policy merely requires action by the Public Service Commission and the state Legislature.
Almost all other states are already taking advantage of net metering. For families and small businesses nationwide, solar power is the most popular renewable energy, and solar-power panel systems are readily available in almost all states. Mississippi stands out—along with Tennessee, South Dakota and Washington, D.C.—as a state without a net-metering policy. Louisiana and Arkansas, both Entergy customers, have such policies, and Entergy customers there can have net-metering systems installed and receive credit for the electricity they produce.
Because Mississippi is so late to adopt a net-metering policy, the state can learn from all the other states' actions to develop the best possible net-metering policy. Net metering is old technology now. The Monroe, La., area has at least four solar-power providers. Small businesses in Mississippi could immediately move into the growing market of solar and wind energy if the state would adopt a net-metering policy.
In addition to my local state leaders, I have (over the past two years) contacted MPB, Jackson TV stations and The Clarion-Ledger regarding net metering. However, my attempts to bring net metering to the public view have failed.
I hope that the Jackson Free Press can bring net metering to the public attention, and that people will ask their state officials to develop the best net-metering policy in the nation.
W. D. Corson
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