HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Public Service Commission ordered Arnold Line Water to make changes to the company's rules and regulations.
The Commission said although it cannot regulate rates of rural association, it has exclusive jurisdiction over quality of service.
Public Service Commissioner, Sam Britton said, “Arnold Line was granted a certificate of authority to serve an area, and the people in that area do not have the right to get water from other people, they have to deal with Arnold Line.”
At an evidentiary hearing in Jackson on January 19, 2017, representatives from Arnold Line presented their legal case as to why Arnold Line Board members voted to not adopt the Commission’s suggested changes to their rules and regulations in November 2016.
The following issues are addressed and ordered by the Commission:
1. “Arnold Line shall delete from its service rules the requirement that a customer must provide his bill or account number in order to make payment.”
2. “Arnold Line shall remove, effective immediately, any signage from any location which states that a customer must have his bill or account number in order to make payment.”
3. Arnold Line shall provide notice in its Service rules that sufficiently provide notice to its customers of their right to file a complaint with the Commission in the event of a dispute concerning refusal of service.
4. Arnold Line shall file a petition with the Commission within twenty days seeking approval of its cross-utility cutoff arrangement with the City of Hattiesburg, West over West Sewage...if Arnold Line fails to file this petition, Arnold Line shall delete its right to cut off water for nonpayment of sewer to the City of Hattiesburg in Arnold Line Users Agreement.
5. “Arnold Line and Lamar Park shall file a join petition with the Commission within twenty days requesting approval of its cross-utility cutoff arrangement.”
6. “Arnold Line shall submit to the Commission for approval of its rules, which have been revised with these changes within forty-five days.
President Charles R. Dixon said all his rules and payment due dates are on a contract before customers sign it. It is also at the payment window and behind their bill.
“Mr. Britt first said, that we had a 150 complaints in 2016, but we only had 24, I think over a 5 year period, we might over had 80 complaints, but the complaints are the ones that won’t pay the water bill that we have to force" said Dixon.
A customer for 2 years, Zina McDaniel, told FOX 23 news that Arnold Line Water company is unethical and that Mr. Dixon is only gaining all the profit.
“It does not say that (payments), on the contract it says this is his company, he can do whatever he want to do.”
Dixon said he will not have his company abide by the Commission's order. “I am not going to do it" he said.
"The power company don’t run out there and do them, the phone company, they cut you off, Now they say if a customer complains I have to tell them. I do that anyway that’s already done" said Dixon.
Commissioner Briton said he wants Mississippians to have quality service.
“It all comes back to basically treating people right" said Britton.
Arnold Line will have fifteen days to file exception if they wish to appeal. If this occurs, the matter will be referred to the Public Service Commissioners for review.