Presley pushes to extend rate incentives for small business owners

From press reports


Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley today publicly encouraged Mississippi’s major electric and gas utilities to extend Small Business Rate Incentives for another year. Incentives provided by Entergy Mississippi, Mississippi Power Company, Atmos Energy, CenterPoint Energy and Wilmut Gas & Oil Company are set to expire December 31 of this year. In a letter to each company’s CEO, Presley urged the utilities to continue the successful programs, which provide for reduced rates, waived security deposits and encouragement of development of vacant buildings, through the end of 2014.

“Since the Commission approved the programs for the five major Mississippi utilities, over 1,000 small businesses have seen tangible savings of over $700,000 in overhead costs; money that can now be invested in creating new jobs and growing the Mississippi economy,” Presley said. Small businesses that open, expand or create jobs are eligible to a myriad of discounts from savings on deposits to rate discounts by the participating companies. Presley first introduced the idea at the PSC two years ago in an effort to help small businesses.

“Small businesses are sadly forgotten in many areas of government, but not at the PSC. These small business owners are the backbone of our state’s economy. They are the folks at your service station, local diner and Main Street businesses. They have no lobbyists, yet they are, many times, the ones putting people to work. I want to make sure they get help doing that” Presley said.

Presley commended the utilities’ work in helping small business, but warned that the Mississippi economy still needs the benefits that the programs provide. “As the economy grows, entrepreneurs will begin to see opportunities to open businesses and create new jobs. We should not allow high utility costs to dissuade them from this goal,” Presley said. “Now is not the time to stop this very successful program.”

Presley also encouraged continued and expanded processes for spreading the word to potential small business owners. He will ask the full Commission for a formal request to extend the riders at the Commission’s September meeting. “This incentive is solid encouragement to Mississippi entrepreneurs that their utilities and their State stand behind them in the desire to bring their goods and services to the Mississippi marketplace,” Presley concluded.