With the creation of a working group on rural access to natural gas, the Mississippi Public Service Commission hopes to address this issue. This working group will include staff from each commissioner’s office as well as general commission staff members. It is charged with examining which policies, procedures, and financial resources can best increase natural gas access in rural areas of the state. The commission hopes to eventually form guidelines that will guide rural access projects, said commissioners this week. This would allow the commission to make “sound economic investment and economic decisions.” Brandon Presley, Northern District Commission Chairman, stated that more than 3,600 people have asked about the possibility of expanding natural gas services in remote areas. Presley explained that a Toccopola resident spent $1,000 on heating one month with propane when a natural gas system would have cost $250. “Can this be replicated anywhere else?” Presley stated, “I don’t know the answer but we should try.” Presley stated that Mississippi residents should have the ability to choose the best energy source for their homes and needs. Sam Britton, the Southern District representative said that running distribution lines to remote locations also comes with a cost. This must be considered. He stated that the policy would help guide the commission in how to distribute these services, if any, when it is possible. Britton stated that “most everybody who doesn’t have it pretty well wants it.” “We are trying to put in place policies and procedures so that when it does arise, we have the criteria to move through. It would be impossible to get it out to everybody in a short period of time.” Around the country, more than 10 percent of households rely on oil or propane for home heating, while almost 85 percent heat with natural gas or electricity, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.