A number of utilities and consumer groups say they support proposed rules that would require Mississippi electric and gas utilities to implement programs to save energy.
However, Mississippi Power Co. says it opposes the rules because bills could rise for customers who don’t make homes or businesses more efficient.
The Public Service Commission began considering energy efficiency rules in early 2010. A number of states have adopted similar rules.
“We can no longer afford to waste our energy resources and financial resources,” said Brent Bailey of 25 x ’25, a group that wants the United States to produce 25 percent of its energy from biomass sources by 2025. The Canton man was among those who spoke in favor of the rule at a Tuesday public hearing. The commission could vote on the measure as early as July.
If the proposed rules are adopted, utilities would be required under “quick start” provisions to begin improving efficiency. Those programs could include energy audits, tuning customer heating and air-conditioning systems, appliance and lighting rebates, weatherizing homes, and paying builders of new homes and commercial buildings to make them more efficient.
Within three years, utilities would have to file more comprehensive plans. They would be allowed to recover the costs of implementing those plans by raising rates on all customers.