Lawmakers discuss redrawing HSUD electric service area

Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 6:55 PM CDT
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HOLLY SPRINGS, Miss. (WMC) - There’s now legislation in the Mississippi General Assembly that could pave the way to shrinking the electricity service area for the Holly Springs Utility Department (HSUD). This is after customers continue to be frustrated with the utility’s inconsistent service and prolonged outages.

If passed, Senate Concurrent Resolution 560 would allow for a bill to be drafted that could redraw the Holly Springs Utility Department’s (HSUD) electric service area, confining it to Holly Springs city limits.

Senator Neil Whaley from Marshall County authored the bill.

“It’s just simply gotten to the fact that every time the wind blows, I have constituents, Senator Chism has constituents, who will be out of power 10-14 days,” Whaley said.

The resolution passed in the Senate by a large majority and is now in the House.

Holly Springs Mayor Sharon Gipson did not respond to our requests for comment, but Senator Derrick Simmons from the Mississippi Delta said he spoke to Gipson over the phone.

“…[She] basically told me she is opposed to this legislation,” Simmons said.

Kim King lives just outside Holly Springs and hopes the resolution passes.

Her power has been in and out throughout this week. She had no idea why until she found out that HSUD posted to Facebook they were making “necessary repairs” to several service areas.

“We had no notification, and we don’t do Facebook. We had no idea what was happening,” King said.

Her husband works from home and would be impacted by this potential legislation. “We pay for electricity, and we expect to get it,” she said.

Representative John Faulkner from Holly Springs said he opposes this bill.

“You’re talking about nearly 8,000 customers, which equates to about $1.2 million from the general fund for the City of Holly Springs,” Faulkner said. “There’s no plan on how to recoup those dollars.”

His alternative, which he said was discussed with other Marshall County leaders, is establishing a utility commission within the department, taking that authority away from the mayor and board of aldermen.

“We both want a reliable service for all of our customers,” Faulkner said. “We know there are major issues, but SCR560 doesn’t fix the issues. It creates more problems.”

If presented in the House, Faulkner said he would present an amendment to be sent back to the Senate, in hopes of coming to a compromise and fixing the issues within HSUD.

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