Give Consumers a Full Voice in Front of the Public Service Commission – SB2393

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Bigger Pie Forum | Give Consumers a Full Voice in Front of the Public Service Commission – SB2393 | BPF
 
What if you went to court and were told your attorney would have to represent both you and your opponent — even though your opponent had a whole army of his own attorneys?
Well, that’s basically the setup for the state agency that regulates how much you pay for electricity and other utilities.
The amounts you pay for your electricity, natural gas, water, sewer, and/or your telephone, depending on where you live in Mississippi, are likely regulated by the Public Service Commission (PSC).
The PSC serves a function similar to a judge, where three PSC commissioners hear a case and then rule on it. You would think the process would be similar to a court setting, where one party (in this case, a utility) presents its case, followed by the other party (in this case, someone representing you – the consumer), and then the judge (the PSC) would make a decision.
You would think that. But you would be wrong.
The reality is, a utility, such as Entergy or Mississippi Power Company with its phalanx of lawyers and experts, presents its request for a rate increase to the PSC. On the other side is an agency which is separate from, and not under the control of, the PSC, known as the Public Utilities Staff (PUS).
Well, it is sort of on the other side. In reality, the PUS is, by law, supposed to “balance” the interests of consumers and utilities. That would be like hiring a lawyer who represents you and your opponent in court.
In short, there is no one to represent consumers exclusively. Occasionally, a consumer or environmental group might challenge a particular decision on specific grounds, but there is no entity that has the resources, capacity,

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