Net metering, a crucial policy for distributed solar PV, requires utilities to compensate residences and business for the excess power they put back onto the grid. Forty-four states plus the District of Columbia have already implemented net metering policies that credit customers at the full retail rate for electricity.

The Mississippi Public Service Commission finalized its net metering rule last Thursday, five years after opening the docket in 2010.

A study published last year on behalf of the Mississippi PSC determined that it is in the best interest of all customers to develop a net metering policy. Last week’s decision underscored the study’s findings.

“[T]he Commission finds a need for net metering because such a program supports consumers’ right to self-supply electricity as balanced by the need and right to connect to the grid, provides increased consumer choice and introduces innovation into a market dominated by monopolies, has the potential to put downward pressure on rates and provide benefits to all ratepayers, and constitutes a substantial step toward creating a viable solar market in Mississippi,” according to the rule.

Despite these statements, regulators chose not to credit net-metered customers at the full retail rate for electricity, departing from the norm. Instead, Mississippi’s program credits customers at the wholesale electricity rate, plus 2.5 cents per kilowatt-hour.

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