LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - The Public Service Commission has set a hearing date for a Lamar County water association to explain why is refuses to make commission-ordered changes to its rules and regulations.
Arnold Line Water Association will present oral arguments before the state's three commissioners June 6, and Arnold Line must submit briefs within 30 days to explain its legal reasoning for not complying the commission's March ruling.
The commission's ordered the utility to address six issues to improve customer service:
- Arnold Line shall delete from its service rules the requirement that a customer must provide his bill or account number in order to make payment.
- Arnold Line shall remove, effective immediately, any signage from any location which states that a customer must have his bill or account number in order to make payment.
- Arnold Line shall provide notice in its Service rules that sufficiently provide notice to its customers of their right to file a complaint with the Commission in the event of a dispute concerning refusal of service.
- Arnold Line shall file a petition with the Commission within 20 days seeking approval of its cross-utility cut-off arrangement with the City of Hattiesburg, Westover West Sewage...if Arnold Line fails to file this petition, Arnold Line shall delete its right to cut off water for nonpayment of sewer to the City of Hattiesburg in Arnold Line Users Agreement.
- Arnold Line and Lamar Park shall file a join petition with the Commission within 20 days requesting approval of its cross-utility cu-toff arrangement.
- Arnold Line shall submit to the Commission for approval of its rules, which have been revised with these changes within forty-five days.
C.R. Dixon, president and director of Arnold Line Water Association, and the utility's legal team have argued the commission does not have jurisdiction over rural water associations.
The utility refuses to change its rule or remove the sign in its office requiring customers to have their account number to pay their bill. It also said it doesn't need permission from commission for its cross-utility agreements. Arnold Line has agreements with the City of Hattiesburg, Lamar Park and Westover West to cut off water if sewer bills aren't paid, and said it won't and doesn't need to file a petition to keep them.
The utility argues removing the requirement for account numbers "would come at a financial cost, inhibit the association's customer service, and be unduly burdensome," and says "there is no PSC rule regulating cross-utility agreements."
Arnold Line will present oral arguments to the Public Service Commission after its regular meeting on June 6 at the Woolfolk State Building in Jackson. Following the arguments, the commissioners will take the mater under advisement and give a decision.