Net Metering & Your Bill
The electricity generated by your solar or renewable energy system serves the energy needs of your home and can reduce your monthly electric bill. Any additional energy your home requires is automatically supplied by Mississippi Power. Any excess electricity your renewable system generates — electricity your home does not use — will be exported back to the electric grid and purchased by Mississippi Power. This is called net metering.
Metering Rates and Interconnection Rules
Not all renewable energy systems will be able to generate excess electricity. It is more common for solar-powered homes to produce a portion of the electricity for their home and the remainder is provided by Mississippi Power. Those that do generate excess electricity will be eligible to sell that electricity to Mississippi Power at a rate determined by the Mississippi Public Service Commission. However, those who do not generate excess electricity will still see a reduction, or offset, in their bills as their home uses more solar energy and less energy from the grid.
What is net metering?
Net metering is the process by which individual electric utility customers who generate electricity from renewable energy, such as solar panels, can sell their excess power back to their local utilities. The customers are compensated at a rate established by the Mississippi Public Service Commission for the electricity they produce and place on the electric grid.
Are offsetting energy and net metering the same thing?
No. When you install a renewable energy system at your home or business, the system will offset, or replace, at least some portion of the electricity you would have otherwise used from the electric grid. Net metering refers only to the process of exporting to the grid excess electricity from your system.
How often does a renewable system such as a solar PV system export power to the grid?
This is a function of both energy supply needed for the home or business at any given point in time as well as factors that cause changes in how much sunshine the panels receive, such as on a cloudy day and at night. When the PV system produces more power than is needed for the residence or business, the system will seamlessly export that excess power to the utility grid. This may happen many times a day, an hour, or even within a minute or second, depending on conditions.
What are the rates paid in Mississippi for excess electricity exported to Mississippi Power's grid?
For Mississippi Power customers, the rate paid for electricity placed on the grid by a net metered customer is 2.5 cents/kWh above the company's avoided-cost rate. For residential net metered customers that qualify as low-income customers, an additional 2 cents/kWh will be added to the avoided-cost value in addition to the 2.5 cents/kWh. These rates are established by Mississippi Public Service Commission rules.
What is the avoided-cost rate?
Avoided-cost is the cost a utility would have incurred had it supplied the power from its generation resources. Mississippi Power's avoided-cost currently ranges from 2.29 to 3.62 cents/kWh, depending on the time of day and season of the year. This rate is from the company's most recent federal Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) analysis of avoided costs and is also filed with the Mississippi Public Service Commission.
How do I know if I am a low-income customer?
Per the Mississippi Public Service Commission's ruling, a customer qualifies as a low-income customer if the household income is at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. The low-income benefit adder will remain in place for a period of 15 years from the date the customer begins taking net metering service. The low-income benefit adder will only be available to the first 1,000 qualifying low-income customers. Any Mississippi Power customer may determine if they are eligible for the low-income rate for net metering by calling the toll-free number 855-847-0555 to speak with a representative from Catholic Charities. The customer will be directed to a representative, general information will be taken and customers will be provided a list of documents required for an appointment.
Is there a cap on the amount of electricity that will be obtained from net-metered customers?
The Mississippi Public Service Commission established a limit of net-metered generation capacity, measured in kilowatts, on the Mississippi Power grid at 3 percent of the company's total retail peak at the time of the company's total system peak. This value is recalculated on an annual basis. However, there is no limit on the amount of energy, measured in kilowatt-hours, that may be produced by net-metered customers.
How does the process to request net metering work?
Can I net-meter my backup generator?
No. Backup generators are not typically designed to be operated in parallel with Mississippi Power's electric grid. Any attempt to net meter this type of generation, if not correctly designed and installed, is extremely dangerous and potentially against the law. In addition, you should make sure your qualified solar installer or other renewable energy system installer is aware of any standby generator you have so that appropriate allowances can be made in the design of the renewable energy system.