Mississippi Public Service Commission
|Mississippi Public Service Commission|
|Office website:||Official Link|
|Length of term:||4 years|
|Authority:||Mississippi Code, Title 77, Chapter 1|
|Other Mississippi Executive Offices|
|Governor • Lieutenant Governor • Secretary of State • Attorney General • Treasurer • Auditor • Superintendent of Education • Agriculture Commissioner • Insurance Commissioner • Executive Director of Environmental Quality • Executive Director of Employment Security • Public Service Commission|
The current chairman is Leonard Bentz (R), who serves the Southern District. He was appointed to the Commission in 2006 and has been Chairman since 2013. Brandon Presley (D) serves the Northern District and Lynn Posey (R) serves the Central District.
The Public Service Commission is created under Title 77-1-1 of the Mississippi Code.
A public service commission, hereinafter referred to in this chapter as the commission, is hereby created, consisting of three (3) members, one (1) to be elected from each of the three (3) Supreme Court districts by the qualified electors of such district.
In order to serve on the Public Service Commission, a person must be:
- A qualified elector
- At least 25 years of age
- A resident of the state for five years proceeding election
- A resident of the Supreme Court district in which election is sought
Public service commissioners are elected to four year terms with no term limits. Mississippi belongs to the handful of states that hold off-year elections, that is, elections in off-numbered years that are neither Presidential nor midterm years. In Mississippi's case, elections are held in the year after a midterm and before a Presidential; thus, 2007, 2011, 2015, and 2019 are all public service commissioner election years.
As outlined on the PSC website, the duties of the commissioners are as follows:
- Regulate telecommunications, electric, gas, water and sewer utilities
- Assure rates and charges for services are just and reasonable
- Assure service rendered is reasonably adequate
- Assure any facilities constructed or acquired are required for the convenience and necessity of the public
- Exercise safety jurisdiction over gas pipelines and area jurisdiction over all public utilities
- Answer complaints, make investigation and conduct formal and informal hearings.
The Public Service Commission has 6 main divisions.
Natural Gas Division
- The Natural Gas Division "represents the public interest with regard to the regulation of investor-owned and certain municipal natural gas utilities in Mississippi."
- The Electric Division "represents the public interest with regard to the regulation of the two major investor-owned electric utilities in the state, Entergy Mississippi, Inc. and Mississippi Power Company."
- The Sewer Division "investigates all sewer filings before the Public Service Commission and makes recommendations thereon. Filings reviewed include applications for construction of facilities, applications to serve customers, and notices to revise the rates and charges authorized by the Commission."
- The Water Division "investigates all water filings before the Public Service Commission and makes recommendations thereon. Filings reviewed include applications for construction of facilities, applications to serve customers, and notices to revise the rates and charges authorized by the Commission."
- The Telecommunications Division "represents the public interest with regard to the regulation of incumbent and competitive local exchange carriers and intrastate long distance carriers in Mississippi."
Pipeline Safety Division
- The Pipeline Safety Division protects "the public and environment from the accidental release of natural gas or hazardous liquid products with a technologically advanced compliance program that promotes educational standards for the industry and contributes to the health and security of Mississippi.."
- See also: Compensation of state executive officers
Mississippi Public Service Commission
Brian U. Ray, Executive Secretary
P.O. Box 1174
Jackson, MS 39215-1174