Beckett: PSC jurisdiction will be included in HB 825
The House Public Utilities Committee Wednesday morning tabled HB 825, a bill that has caused quite a bit of hue and cry over the past few days.
Most of that has come from members of the Public Service Commission, who were upset that it would strip them of jurisdiction over customer complaints related to AT&T. Northern District Commissioner Brandon Presley and Southern District Commissioner Leonard Bentz have led the charge on that front.
Public Utilities chairman Jim Beckett, R-Bruce, said he hoped to hold another committee meeting Thursday afternoon after the House adjourns to take it up again. The committee decided to table the bill after a flurry of amendments.
Beckett told reporters that the PSC regaining jurisdiction over AT&T customer complaints will be “part of the deal” in any version of the bill that eventually clears committee and is sent to the House floor.
“That’s their biggest concern, and it’s the biggest concern I’ve heard from other members,” Beckett said.
What the bill does not do is require AT&T to serve as a “carrier of last resort” in rural areas. It also doesn’t require AT&T to file service data with the PSC.
“It’s a competitive market,” Beckett said. “I don’t see them (AT&T) going out here and flipping the switch and unhooking customers. I think they’ll continue to provide that, and as technology changes I think there will be more and more opportunities for people to get service.”
Mayo Flynt, president of AT&T Mississippi, declined to talk to reporters Wednesday morning.