HORN LAKE, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley says he's setting up an online program to let people in areas without natural gas service tell the commission they want it.
Presley said he realizes it may not be possible to get natural gas to everyone, but many underserved areas may be able to get help.
"We're hearing from a lot of people," he told The Commercial Appeal (http://bit.ly/QMh6Bh) on Thursday.
Presley represents the northern third of the state on the three-member commission. On Tuesday, he met with about 75 people in Horn Lake to talk about natural gas. He says he plans more meetings to gauge interest and direct the public to the online program.
It's modeled after the PSC's successful "Zap the Gap" programs to hear from would-be cellular telephone and broadband customers, he said.
In March, Presley called on Mississippi's largest natural gas suppliers to find ways to extend service to areas that don't have it, saying it's essential to lowering energy costs for consumers.
He sent letters to the CEOs of Atmos Energy and Center Point Energy urging them to submit plans to the PSC within 60 days for exploring the extension of service within their service areas.
Representatives of Atmos, which serves DeSoto County, pledged to work with the PSC on the issue.
Sparsely populated areas are difficult to service because of the cost of providing infrastructure. But Presley said he hopes that pockets of potential customers in areas not served will come forward as he establishes a database of those who want service.
Information from: The Commercial Appeal, http://www.commercialappeal.com