Public Service Commission protects MS

Published 7:00 am Friday, August 4, 2017

When our city and county utility companies need some work done that can’t be handled by the staff, they typically have to go out for bids to hire a contractor.

According to current laws, utility companies only have to accept the lowest and best bid.

This often leads to out-of-state companies winning bids for projects here in Mississippi that could have benefitted local companies and residents.

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But in about a month, a Public Service Commission rule change will make that scenario much more rare.

According to a press release from the PSC, the rule mandates that all rate regulated and investor-owned utility companies publish a notice in their local newspaper four times per year to request that all local contractors send their contact information to that utility company. That contact information will be used to notify those contract companies of impending projects totaling than $200,000, which qualifies for the bidding process.

Additionally, prime contractors that are awarded the bid will be provided the compiled list of Mississippi contract companies for consideration in the hiring of subcontractors.

If, for some reason, an out-of-state company is awarded the bid, then a valid reason needs to be provided to the PSC. Another aspect of the rule mandates that larger contracts be separated into smaller, separate ones to allow more bidders the opportunity to receive work.

The release states that one aim of the rule change is to entice Mississippi students to consider staying in the state upon graduation by providing more job opportunities.

This rule change, combined with the deal the PSC struck with Mississippi Power to control the overruns at the Kemper power plant, show that the PSC is doing its job to protect Mississippians.

We commend these efforts to ensure more Mississippi companies receive contracts for work close to home and hope that the PSC continues this trend of working in the state’s best interest.