By Dennis Seid
TUPELO – When Brittany McCain bought her boutique, Resale Therapy, and moved it last year, she got a pleasant surprise: a waiver on her Atmos Energy deposit and a 25 percent monthly discount for a year.
“I didn’t know about the program until Atmos told me,” she said. “It’s great because I could save the money and pay other bills. … every little bit helps.”
The program is the Small Business Rate Incentives Program, which began in 2011.
Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley helped launch the initiative, and on Thursday at Resale Therapy, announced the program had been renewed through the end of the year.
Presley said the program has helped more than 1,100 businesses statewide save more than $400,000 in utility costs. The savings come from waivers of deposits and discounts off service.
“This is something to benefit the mom-and-pop small business out there,” he said. “Small businesses help create two of every three new jobs in this country; they’re the backbone of America, and anything we can do to help them, we should do it.”
In addition to Atmos, the Small Business Rate Incentives are offered by CenterPoint Energy, Wilmut Gas, Entergy Mississippi and Mississippi Power Co.
Details about each company’s incentive program can be found on the PSC website in the “Small Business Help Center.”
Presley said in Mississippi Power’s territory alone, the incentives have helped create 677 new jobs.
“They’re the only ones who have done a study, so we don’t know what the total figure is statewide,” he said. “But I think at least 1,000 would be a fair estimate. We just really don’t know and I wouldn’t want to speculate.”
Presley also said a second benefit of the incentives was that they were aimed at businesses that created jobs in the U.S. and “not packing up and going to China and Mexico.
“Small businesses don’t get bailouts like Wall Street, but they are the people creating jobs, staying in Mississippi, and hiring our people.”