After months of preparation, the Public Service Commission’s Hire Mississippi program is now fully operational for use by Mississippi contractors. The rule, passed in August of 2017 and requires aggressive notification and reporting by the state’s rate-regulated, investor-owned utilities so that they can reach, and hopefully award contracts to more Mississippi-based businesses.
The rule requires that utilities keep a Hire Mississippi list – a directory of all Mississippi contractors who wish to be notified of contracting opportunities with Mississippi’s utilities.
The benefits of participating are:
- Mississippi contractors on the Hire Mississippi list will receive notification of all known upcoming bids for contracts over $200,000 within the scope of goods or services they furnish.
- No Prime Contractor will be awarded a utility contract until they have consulted the Hire Mississippi list in awarding subcontracts.
- Utilities must publish quarterly notices in local newspapers to advertise the opportunity to be on the Hire Mississippi list so that no one is left behind.
- Utilities must explain to Mississippi contractors the bidding process, qualifications, and other procedures for the awarding of contracts.
- Some large contracts must be broken up into separate, smaller-scoped contracts to accommodate more bids.
- In filings before the Commission, the utilities will be asked whether Mississippi companies were awarded contracts for each project. In the even an out-of-state firm is selected for a project, the company must explain that decision.
“I am sick and tired of seeing out of state vehicles on construction sites in my Mississippi when I know that Mississippians are footing the bill for those projects. I have zero doubt that Mississippi companies could be doing at least some of that work if they were given the chance,” Chairman Brandon Presley said.