The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, 1/22/9

Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley says he needs a staff to adequately do his job of regulating public utilities.

Legislation is pending in the Mississippi House to put the Public Utilities staff under the direction of Presley and the two other elected commissioners. The staff currently is a separate, independent agency with its executive director appointed by the governor.

House Public Utilities Chairman Tyrone Ellis, D-Starkville, had planned to take up the legislation Wednesday, but was blocked through a parliamentary maneuver by the Republican minority. Ellis said he could take up the legislation today.

At issue is the investigation being conducted by Attorney General Jim Hood and the Public Service Commission into claims that Entergy, which provides electricity to much of central Mississippi, is overcharging its customers by buying electricity at a higher rate from some of its subsidiaries than it could obtain on the open market.