By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – For entrepreneurs looking to open their own business, every little thing adds up.
So a chance to reduce overhead is certainly welcome.
On Thursday, Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley unveiled a plan involving several utility companies offering incentives to do just that.
Entergy Mississippi, Atmos Energy Corp., CenterPoint Energy Resources and Wilmut Gas amp& Oil Co. are offering incentives such as reduced rates and waived security deposits to new small businesses. The incentives go into effect on or before Sept. 9.
“I felt it was important to get these incentives,” Presley said. “Small businesses aren’t going to pick up and go to China. They’re the ones creating the jobs. I understand how small businesses struggle to cut overhead costs.”
In Northeast Mississippi, communities served by Atmos Energy and CenterPoint Energy will be affected.
The PSC regulates corporate utilities across the state, and Presley said the incentive program for small businesses is a first for the PSC.
“Every dime they can save helps them expand their operations, hire more employees, keep the door open and provide services to our communities,” he said.
While the list of participating companies isn’t large, Presley said “it’s a good start,” and he added that others could join later.
In addition, the PSC is working on a program to help existing industry that should be rolling out soon.
– Base rate (nonfuel charges) reduced by 15 percent for 12 billing months for those who take service before Jan. 1, 2013.
– Security deposit reduced by 50 percent (CenterPoint already allows bonds and letters of credit to secure deposit).
– Applies to new small businesses that open in buildings that have been unoccupied for at least the preceding six months.
– Customer charge and distribution charge (nonfuel charges) reduced by 25 percent for 12 billing months for those who take service before Sept. 1, 2013.
– Security deposit is waived.
– Applies to any new customer account under the applicable commercial Rate Schedule 305.