JACKSON, MS (WDAM) - The Mississippi Public Service Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to uphold an order requiring the Arnold Line Water Association to change portions of its rules and regulations to bring them into compliance with commission rules.
The public service commissioners' decision comes after a formal public hearing in January in front of a hearing examiner, where representatives from Arnold Line Water Association argued the PSC does not have jurisdiction over rural water associations.
After over an hour of discussion and questioning in which Arnold Line stood fast in its position that the Public Service Commission had no authority to interfere in its internal affairs, Public Service Commissioners voted unanimously to uphold the arrangements in the recommended order.
Those arrangements address six issues:
- 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
"This issue has always been about providing adequate service for customers," said Sam Britton, Southern District commissioner. "I'm pleased to see this step and look forward to seeing a fair solution."
Britton said the utility can comply or appeal the decision Any appeal would likely dealt with in Lamar County Chancery Court.
"There does come a point in time where there can be fine that can be imposed," Britton said in an interview in March. "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."