Thursday, September 11, 2014

Presley Wins Approval of Rule Aiding Domestic Violence Victims

Rule will provide a temporary waiver of utility deposits for victims fleeing violent homes.

JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI (September 9, 2014) – After extensive
review of comments and testimony from domestic violence shelters, public utilities, and other state agencies, today the Public Service Commission approved a major new rule designed to help domestic violence victims escape life threatening situations. The rule, which was introduced by Northern District Commissioner Brandon Presley, provides a sixty day waiver of initial utility deposits for individuals certified by domestic violence shelters as victims of domestic violence.
“For me and my colleagues, when we see that the Commission was granted the power by law to protect the welfare of our most vulnerable citizens through a modest requirement of the utilities we regulate, we see it as our duty to follow through. No one should have to remain in a dangerous situation because they don’t immediately have the money on hand for a utility deposit. This rule just gives some breathing room for victims to make that decision to leave easier, while still protecting utilities and their customers,” Presley said.

Presley’s rule was modeled after similar measures in Louisiana and Texas, but goes further in protection of confidentiality of victim’s identities and prevention of shifting costs to other utility customers. The measure will go into effect thirty days after filing with the Secretary of State’s office.