"That's crazy. If they want to fly around on corporate jets let them pay for it. It shouldn't be the consumers of Mississippi."
That's the response from Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley after Mississippi Power made a request a few months ago to the public service commission, a request Presley calls corporate greed.
Presley says the power company tried to include $900,000 in corporate jet expenses into their utility rates to be paid by Mississippi Power customers.
"They should be ashamed for filing something at this commission asking to recover that kind of money for corporate jet expense. It's wrong and they should pay for it out of their own pocket," said Presley.
Although a legal request, the company withdrew it after the commission's utility staff discovered it. The initial request prompted a public hearing Thursday morning on a rule which changes how utility companies across the state can expense their travel, an effort led by Presley.
While commissioners understand air travel is a business expense, they say it should be the lower cost option, like flying in coach rather than in a private jet. That's just what the rule is set to do.
Southern District Commissioner Leonard Bentz says passing off travel expenses shouldn't even be first class travel, only the essential necessitates.
"We want to make sure that cost of doing business is frugal, as frugal as it can be," said Bentz.
"That's why I proposed this rule to say don't even come in here again and ask us that stupid question," said Presley.
During the hearing, Mississippi power attorney Ricky Cox indicated the company reviewed the rule.
"Mississippi Power Company in August filed extensive comments on the proposed rule and at this time we would adopt the comments," said Cox.
Presley says there's not always a lot of documentation related to air travel and in the past some companies filed the trips as confidential which keeps commissioners and customers from knowing where they're flying.
"What do they need a plane for in the first place, but if they've got one, let them pay for it. It shouldn't be the guy or the gal on the street struggling to pay their power bill," said Presley.
"All reasonable and prudent travel expenses are recoverable by law in public utility rates. Mississippi Power uses all modes of travel to conduct its business, including corporate aircraft, when necessary," said Mississippi Power spokesperson Cindy Duvall in a statement.
The statement went on to say "The Commission's proposed rule unnecessarily assumes that commercial air is the most cost effective means of travel, that it is adequate to meet MPC's needs and is available when needed. Reasonable and necessary travel expenses, regardless of the mode of transportation, are prudent and required to carry out public utility business and should be treated similar to any other operating expense."
Wednesday, May 22 2013 9:55 AM EDT2013-05-22 13:55:17 GMT
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Tuesday, May 21 2013 6:21 PM EDT2013-05-21 22:21:59 GMT
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Tuesday, May 21 2013 10:34 AM EDT2013-05-21 14:34:41 GMT
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Tuesday, May 21 2013 6:35 PM EDT2013-05-21 22:35:19 GMT
The Mississippi Tea Party carried a nationwide protest of the IRS to the streets of downtown Jackson at high noon. The issue, IRS security of conservative groups like the tea party. We found some 20-25More >>
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Wednesday, May 22 2013 10:15 AM EDT2013-05-22 14:15:20 GMT
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Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
One person has died in a crash near Harrisonville, MO, Thursday evening. The crash happened on Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. It involved a car and a tractor-trailer. Harrisonville is in Cass County.More >>
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Wednesday, May 22 2013 11:04 AM EDT2013-05-22 15:04:51 GMT
A Tylertown man is charged with animal cruelty in connection to that suspected puppy mill in Walthall Co. More than 100 of the rescued animals are now at the Humane Society of South MS.More >>
A Tylertown man is charged with animal cruelty in connection to that suspected puppy mill in Walthall County. Sheriff's officials say James Thornhill, 72, turned himself in Tuesday and was released on his own recognizance. Meanwhile, 102 of the animals rescued Monday are now getting a lot of TLC at the Humane Society of South Mississippi.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 7:50 PM EDT2013-05-21 23:50:30 GMT
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Tuesday, May 21 2013 2:15 PM EDT2013-05-21 18:15:12 GMT
The two men battling for the chance to become Jackson's next mayor campaigned into the night as voters prepared to go to the polls for Tuesday's democratic primary runoff. On the WLBT 6pm report, we talkedMore >>
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Tuesday, May 21 2013 1:35 PM EDT2013-05-21 17:35:44 GMT
Linda Gale Reed is accused of stealing over $20,000 from her employer in Copiah County, Moore Fabrication. That's what led investigators to change her status from missing to wanted during their 2012 searchMore >>
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