Utilities offer small business incentives

By Russell Hood

The Webster Progress-Times


The Public Service Commission is urging small business owners in Mississippi to take advantage of utility incentives.

Northern District Commissioner Brandon Presley shared information about small business rate incentives Friday in Eupora with city and county officials, bankers and others. Shad Sims, operations manager for Atmos Energy Corp., accompanied him.

Presley said the PSC asked for the cooperation of Mississippi’s electric and natural gas utilities in encouraging small business through the creation of incentive programs. The commission has approved riders for Atmos Energy and other utilities offering incentives ranging from reduced rates and waived security deposits to the encouragement of development of vacant buildings.

“This is something that can give real tangible benefits,” said Presley, pointing out that the savings can be used for other business needs, such as hiring workers.

More than 1,000 small businesses in Mississippi have benefited since the incentives have been in place, according to Presley. He said Atmos, which serves Webster County, has been the most successful of all the participating utilities — signing up 777 businesses on its small business rider.

Sims said incentives available to a new or existing business that requires another meter include a 25 percent reduction in the customer charge and distribution charge (non-fuel charges). Deposit requirements are waived and the rider duration is 12 months.

For more information visit www.psc.state.ms.us and click on the Small Business Help Center link or Atmos rate specialist Earl Lee at 601-420-5063

During his visit, Presley also announced that the PSC has approved a plan in which Atmos Energy will invest up to $5 million per year over the next 10 years to expand natural gas service for commercial/industrial projects across the state. He also said the Quick Start program will be available in January, and is intended to promote the efficient use and conservation of electricity and natural gas.