Presley introduces ‘Hire Mississippi’ rule

From Press Reports

Thursday’s monthly open meeting of the Public Service Commission saw the commission take a bold, aggressive step to help boost the Mississippi economy and help Mississippi based companies.

Public Service Commission Chairman Brandon Presley (D-Nettleton) introduced the “Hire Mississippi Rule,” a mandate requiring rate regulated, investor-owned utilities to greatly expand how they offer contracting and business opportunities to Mississippi-based companies seeking to contract with the billions of dollars a year companies spend on operations, maintenance and construction.

Presley’s stated goal in writing the rule was to give fair and equal access to Mississippi-based companies and greater transparency in how contracts are awarded. The net result … requiring equal access and greater transparency for companies who call Mississippi home and hire Mississippians.

“I am so sick and tired of seeing out-of-state car tags on construction sites in my Mississippi when I know that Mississippians are footing the bill for those projects. I have zero doubt that MISSISSIPPI companies could be doing that work if they were given the chance,” Presley said. “My goal is to tear down the glass wall surrounding these multimillion dollar contracts and give Mississippi companies the chance at getting that work.”

Perhaps the most important innovation in the rule is the creation of the Hire Mississippi

List. At least four times a year, the utilities will be required to publish notice in newspapers across their territory requesting that local contractors submit their business to be on the list. Mississippi companies on the Hire Mississippi List will receive additional notification of any known upcoming bids for contracts over $200,000 within the scope of goods or services they furnish.

Further, no contract will be awarded to any prime contractor without the utility first providing the prime contractor the utility’s Hire Mississippi List for consideration in awarding subcontracts.

The Hire Mississippi List will give utilities and ratepayers the advantage of a more competitive bid process and will provide additional, state-specific information to increase transparency in bidding.