Private, consumer-owned utilities are best option

Published 1:27 pm Wednesday, June 19, 2024

By Harold Brummett
Denmark Star Route

Eggs and Issues was last week. I listened to the lawyer elite (and one real estate guy) tell us what a wonderful job they did. They did do well, and I am proud of them, but their Democratic Party leanings still show through the cracks as Mississippi is slowly backed into Medicaid expansion.

Northeast Power Association potentate Keith Hayward updated the assembled on the progress NEPA and Spark has made. He described how the power associations across the state who have internet are grouping together to have their own state network instead of purchasing outside connectivity. Great plan, anytime you can keep a business or process local it is better. I like my internet service and am all for anything that enhances service or improves security.

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Now is the time for our Electric and Internet power associations to look into becoming utility associations. In particular, for Lafayette County to continue to have the standard of living we like or aspire to, rural gas and water needs to be under the umbrella of a community-owned association.

An association that is consumer-owned, not government-mandated.

A few years ago there was a move afoot to create utility districts not just in Lafayette county but across the state. State-mandated or government-owned utility districts are just a bad idea from the get-go.

Government anything becomes bloated wastelands of poor planning, skyrocketing costs, mismanagement and particularly in north Mississippi where a good ole boy wink and a nod gets you contracts or a job.

When asking about gas in the rural areas the old refrain is sung again like in the 1940’s and again when rural internet service was proposed – ‘not enough density to warrant the infrastructure investment.’

While Oxford and the surrounding subdivisions in their cookie-cutter mansions warm either with electric or gas rural residents have the choice of wood, propane or electricity. Wood is not an option for older rural residents while the cost of propane changes with the (cold) wind.

Northeast Electric Power has become a trailblazer in both electric service and providing internet to everyone who wants it in their service area. Perhaps it is time for the efficiencies of private consumer-owned utilities to expand.

We have seen what government can do, we have seen what Northeast Power and other associations can do (when government gets out of the way). Let’s put our future in the hands of our neighbors who run the associations.

I suppose if someone wanted natural gas for their home or business they could move to Toccopola.