Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Presley Calls for Cell Phone Towers on Electric Facilities

JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI - (June 2, 2015) – At Tuesday’s open
meeting of the Public Service Commission, Commissioner Brandon Presley instructed electric utilities in the state to investigate and develop policies to allow new cell phone towers to be placed on electric transmission facilities. Presley said that such an arrangement could greatly improve cellular coverage in Mississippi while at the same time provide an additional source of revenue to benefit electric ratepayers.

“Co-locating electric and telecommunications facilities could kill two birds with one stone, and I am very interested to see the utilities’ proposals on how to implement this. I have made it a priority in my time in office to ensure that quality cell phone service is available to everyone in Mississippi. By cheapening the cost to put up new cell towers and avoiding siting delays, I fully expect to see more and better cell phone coverage across the state sooner rather than later. At the same time, I will ensure that the money electric utilities receive for a leasing these facilities is used to benefit their customers,” Presley said.

Presley asked that the utilities look to the efforts of the Georgia Public Service Commission for guidance. In 2008, The Georgia Power Company was allowed to recover costs associated with leasing space for telecommunications facilities and allocate half of all revenues generated to ratepayers. Similar co-location programs have been enacted in at least a dozen states nationwide.

“It is rare to find a way to do so much good for so many in one stroke, and I want to take full advantage,” Presley said.