Want to talk to a real person? PSC sets Dec. 2 hearing on utility hotlines

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 5, 2008

Customers of public utilities in Mississippi who want their voices heard not by machines but by people will have a chance to tell state regulators all about it.

Mississippi Public Service Commission members have set a hearing for Dec. 2 to gather public comment on a proposed rule to require each utility in the state to ensure customers will be able to speak with a live company representative.

Though callers to company hotlines can already speak with customer service representatives as part of general lists of phone menu options, Central District Commissioner Lynn Posey said the move is in response to the most common service complaint from rate payers.

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“This is an attempt to require the utility companies to provide better service to the rate payer of the Central District,” Posey said in a statement.

Entergy Mississippi and Mississippi Power, providers of electricity in 68 of the state’s 82 counties, provide options for account and payment information, establishing service and reporting outages to residences and street lights. Automated options for basic information usually precede options for reaching representatives, however, creating extensive wait times, depending on call volume.

The hearing will be held at the commission’s offices at Suite 112 on the first floor of the Woolfolk State Office Building, 501 North West St., in Jackson Those interested in participating in the public hearing must file their intent with the commission by Nov. 6.

Entergy serves 45 counties, including Warren County, providing electricity to 443,000 customers. Mississippi Power serves electricity to 23 counties, mainly in south Mississippi.

If you go

A public hearing by the Mississippi Public Service Commission will be Dec. 2 at the commission’s offices at Suite 112 on the first floor of the Woolfolk State Office Building, 501 North West St., in Jackson. Those interested in attending must notify the commission by Nov. 6. For information, call 601-961-5430 or 800-356-6430 or e-mail central.district@psc.state.ms.us.