Public Service Commission Chairman Brandon Presley will help lead a national task force focused on expanding natural gas service to rural areas of the United States.

The Natural Gas Access and Expansion Task Force, created by the National Association of Regulatory Utilities Commission, a nonprofit group of government agencies that regulate utilities across the country and U.S. territories, will study the demand for expanding natural gas service and infrastructure and come up with nontraditional ways of getting the energy source out to under-served areas in the country.

The group will be led by both Presley and Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner John F.  Coleman, Jr. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner. Association president Robert F. Powelson appointed Presley to the task force.

Presley has previously advocated for adding natural gas infrastructure in rural areas of Mississippi. So far this year, he has looked into alternative ways of state-level funding for expansion of natural gas infrastructure in rural areas of Mississippi and kick-started discussions on expanding natural gas services with a number of local government officials in Northern Mississippi.

Presley has said some rural communities lack access to natural gas because of infrastructure issues, particularly nonexistent local distribution lines and gas utility services. Many of these communities rely on propane, heating oil and other fuels, which Presley has said is more costly.

The national-level task force will meet for eight months with the goal of putting together an analytical report. The group will look into things like natural gas access, expansion and service extension policies for under-served areas and put together recommended practices on providing natural gas access and expansion to those areas.

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