November 28, 2016 Rotogram: 19

Public Service Commission: What Does It Do?

November 21 — “The one question I get all the time is ‘What does the Public Service Commission do?’” said Sam Britton, commissioner for the Southern District of Mississippi. “I even had a lady who helped me in the campaign say last week, ‘You need to explain to me exactly what the commission does.’”

The first-term commissioner explained that it oversees basic utilities like water, sewer, telecommunications, natural gas and electricity.

“Utilities make up the fabric of our lives,” he said.

The agency is charged with “assuring that rates and charges for services are just and reasonable, that the service rendered is reasonably adequate, and that any facilities constructed or acquired are required for the convenience and necessity of the public.”

The commission answers complaints, conducts investigations and holds formal and informal hearings.

The PSC also handles the state no-call list. Questions or concerns regarding utilities or the No-Call Registry can be directed to 1-800-356-6429.

“The commission has varying degrees of authority over the various entities for various reasons,” said Britton. “One reason is that you elect local government leaders and you have direct input.”

He said that although the regulatory system is not perfect, it does improve efficiency. “What we want is affordable, reliable power.”

“In this country, we have three sources of energy that make up 80 to 90 percent of our electricity,” he said. “That is traditional coal, natural gas and nuclear.”

Britton’s position is that there is a need to recognize the realities of weighing traditional sources and renewable sources of energy. He pointed to the move of Germany to return to more traditional coal-generated supplies.

Focusing on the issues of storage, he noted that although the technology eventually will expand, the present reality is that it is limited. He explained that Tesla, best known for its electric cars, really is a battery company leading the development of that component of the industry.

Responding to a question about the Kemper lignite coal gasification project, Britton used it as an example of spending billions on unproven technologies. His position is that the economic risk must be placed on the company and its shareholders, not on the power customers.

As a side note, Daniel Forde, Starkville native and son of Rotarian John Forde is Britton’s public affairs officer.

For the Record—November 21

Invocation and Pledge:         Brian McCaskill

Attendance:                                          62.1%

Present — 90 (49 exempt)

Absent — 90 (12 exempt, 12 honorary)

Makeup reported:                       Kyle Jordan

Guests: Visiting Rotarians were Tom Johnson and John Brady. Member guests were Jacob Donald of Jeff Donald, Marnita Henderson and Connie Forde of John Forde, Lisa Lindley of Giles Lindley and Jimmy Saunders of Mary Jane Runnels. Guests of the club were Emma Crumpton, Brent Thompson, Daniel Forde and Elisa Malzanni, RYE student.


Wes McGrew of HORNE Cyber will speak on cyber-security. Marc McGee will introduce him.

Next Week: Mississippi Business Development

Glenn McCullough is the Executive Director of the Mississippi Development Authority. Stuart Vance will introduce him.

Meeting Notes

  • In President Briar’s absence, President-elect Marc McGee presided. Past-president Michelle Amos greeted guests.
  • McGee welcomed our assistant district governor, Tom Johnson of Jackson.
  • He reminded float committee members and others interested in volunteering that Santa’s float from the city Christmas parade would be disassembled for storage tomorrow. The group meets at 6:00 p.m. at East Mississippi Lumber Company.
  • Grant Arinder, RYE chair, gave a special thank you to Giles and Lisa Lindley for being Eliza’s first host parents for the year.
  • Member directories were distributed. Rotarians were reminded to send updated information and pictures to

Operation Christmas Child

Rotarians contributed 55 gift-laden shoeboxes to Operation Christmas Child. Fifty of the boxes were packed by our Boy Scouts in Troop 14 on behalf of members who contributed $20 each. More than 4,500 Starkville boxes join millions nationwide to provide gifts to poor children worldwide.

Between the Lions

Reading Schedule

11/29, 9:00, First Presbyterian   Jeff Donald

12/1, 9:15, Emerson Chuck Rivenburgh

12/2, 10:00, First Baptist CLC Reader Needed



Christmas Bell Ringing

Rotarians will tend the Salvation Army Red Kettle twice during the Christmas season at both Walmart entrances. We need two volunteers for each one hour of bell ringing.

  • Tues., Dec. 6, 10:ooa.m.— 7:00 p.m.
  • Tues., Dec. 13, 9:oo a.m.— 7:00 p.m.

Board Meeting Re-scheduled

Next month’s board of directors meeting has been rescheduled for Dec. 15.



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