LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - The Public Service Commission said an order issued Tuesday requiring the Arnold Line Water Association to change portions of its rules and regulations to improve customer service.
"When you come down to it, there have been a number of complaints, and a long history of complaints, against Arnold Line," said Sam Britton, public service commissioner for the Southern District. "It all comes down to just treating people right. Arnold line will have the right to either agree or appeal to those."
C.R. Dixon, president and director of Arnold Line Water Association, said the utility does not agree, and does plan to appeal the PSC's ruling.
"The two or three things they're asking for us to do, I mean, we feel like we're in compliance with everything," Dixon said.
Britton said the appeals process starts with the company coming before the elected public service commissioner for a hearing.
"They would come before the full public service commission where all three public service commissioners would sit, and it would be my hope that the commission would uphold the hearing examiner's decision," Britton said. "Then after that, they will have a period of time where they can either decide to comply or they still can appeal that decision. There does come a point in time where there can be fine that can be imposed. That's not the intention of what we want. What we is, simply put, for them to follow the rules and regulations that are in place. Treat people right."
Dixon said, "We try to treat everybody fair. We have some that every month that's not going to pay, and the only way you can get them to pay is to force them to pay. Sometimes I just go overboard with them."
Dixon and Arnold Line Water Association maintain the Public Service Commission does not have the authority or jurisdiction to what the company's rules look like.
"(They do not have) the authority to tell me, put their hand down, keep their thumb on me or on us because they don't do any of these other water systems that way," Dixon said. "I feel like they (are) just picking on us because I stand up to them. (I am not) going to let them run over me."
Britton disagrees, saying while the commission cannot regulate the utility's rates, it can and does regulate quality of service.
"Public service commission granted them the right to serve this area, the certificated area, and with that comes obligations they have to live up to," Britton said. "It is our responsibility to hold them accountable, and I'm going to do that. I'm the elected public service commissioner. I'm going to look at what is before me, and we're going to make the decisions based on the facts and the circumstances and the laws. We'll make that decision, and we will move from there. One step at a time."
Arnold Line Water Association has 15 day from the original filing to appeal.