HOLLY SPRINGS, Miss. — The subject of “on again, off again” electricity for customers of the Holly Springs Utility District was the focus of a public hearing Friday morning in Holly Springs.

Customers of the Holly Springs Utility District were eager to share their frustration with the trouble-plagued utility company and the Mayor who manages it.

“I hope to find out what the plan is to fix our utilities and to see about getting that Mayor out of office,” said Debbie Omedeo of Lamar, Mississippi.

This “field hearing” gave about 100 citizens the chance for an update on the utility company from a bipartisan panel of elected officials.

“Thank you all so much for coming. I know this is a huge topic. It’s a crisis here, and we hear that,” Rep. Chris Brown, chairman of Conservation and Water Resources, said.

It didn’t take long for panel members to admit HSUD’s issues won’t be an  “easy fix.”

“This situation is a dire one. We are here today in search of a solution,” Rep. John Faulkner said.

The panel heard from HSUD employees, who said the company lacks qualified personnel. The company reportedly only has five or six linemen, has equipment in need of repair or replacement, and has a power grid that is unable to meet the demand.

The TVA told the panel it’s time to consider serious changes.

“We feel strongly that there needs to be an emphasis placed on hiring a qualified general manager to run the utility department,” TVA Vice President Melanie Farrell said.

Holly Springs Mayor Sharon Gipson, who manages the utility company, was not at the “field hearing”. An alderman who attended declined to comment, but the Mayor’s “no show” didn’t go unnoticed by one panel member.

“Her presence would have been positive in this meeting, and I would encourage all of the City officials to get in this solution with us,” Rep. Bill Kinkade said.

A public hearing on the Holly Springs Utility District will be held Monday, July 31, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Eddie Lee Smith Multi-purpose Building on North Memphis Street in Holly Springs.