The Mississippi Public Service Commission voted at its Thursday meeting to refer a planned improvement to Cooperative Energy’s distribution grid to Chairman Dane Maxwell, who represents the Southern District.
The three-member elected commission issued an order to refer the matter to Maxwell for a hearing, report and recommendation. Hattiesburg-based Cooperative, formerly known as SMEPA, wants to rebuild an existing 69 kilovolt transmission line to accommodate a future 161 kilovolt double circuit on existing and new right of way. This would serve customers in both Jasper and Jones counties.
It would require the construction of 7.8 miles of transmission line, with 5.5 miles to be rebuilt in the existing right of way and 2.3 miles on new right of way at a cost of $2.582 million. The company says in its original filing requesting permission from the PSC that construction will start within 12 months of regulatory approval.
The commission also unanimously approved the sale of Wholesale Carrier Services, which provides voice and other connectivity services to parts of Mississippi, to BCM One Group Holdings. The company and the Public Utilities Staff both say that the transaction won’t affect rates or customer service and won’t harm competition.
Air Voice Wireless, which provides Lifeline only wireless service to low-income customers in Mississippi and several states, had its sale to VTel Holdings approved by the commission unanimously. The company says the transaction will enhance economies of scale for its consumers.
The commission also approved several requests by Great River Operating Company to provide wastewater service to these areas of the state:
- Cedar Lane subdivision, Adams County.
- Business Park subdivision, Lamar County.
- Camden Place subdivision, Warren County.
- Pine Woods subdivision, Warren County.
- Pecan Village subdivision, Warren County.
- Leland Pointe subdivision, Warren County.
- Center Hill subdivision, DeSoto County.
- Evening Shade subdivision, DeSoto County.
Northern District Commissioner Brandon Presley also brought up an issue he and his office have discovered about annual reports required by law of water and sewer providers statewide.
“We’ve had the chance to go in and look at the contact information and the annual reports that were filed, or more than that, not been filed by a large number of utilities and it is an utter, complete mess when you look at contacts for the companies, who should’ve been filing reports, reports that have not been filed,” Presley said.
He said these reports are important because they help the PSC staff contact utilities when there has been a customer complaint filed with the commission.
Presley wants the PSC staff and the Public Utilities Staff (a separate body from the commission) to create a grace period for utilities to file their legally mandated reports and if not, face some type of penalty.