Monday, October 13, 2014

Utility Deposit Waiver for Domestic Violence Victims Now in Effect

Jackson, Mississippi (October 10, 2014) Mississippians who are victims of domestic violence can receive additional relief to help them flee from violent homes and dangerous situations. A new Public Service Commission rule which requires utilities to postpone collecting initial deposits for sixty days for certified victims of domestic violence goes into effect today. The rule, authored by Northern District Commissioner Brandon Presley, is modeled after similar measures in Louisiana and Texas.

“This is a monumental day for those who struggle to leave a violent situation. These deposit waivers provide real assistance for real people. Our purpose today is to get the word out to those who are financially trapped in a violent home that some additional help is out there and that one more hurdle to leaving a situation of domestic violence has been taken away” Presley said.

The utility deposit waiver was approved unanimously by the Public Service Commission on September 9th and filed with the Secretary of State’s office the following day. Mississippi law requires a thirty day period before a new rule goes into effect. With today’s enactment, victims may immediately seek certification for the waiver at any of Mississippi’s domestic violence shelters. If a shelter certifies a person as a victim they receive a certification letter to present to their utilities, who must postpone deposit requirements for sixty days.

Wendy Mahoney, Executive Director of the Mississippi CoalitiPon Against Domestic Violence was among the first to work with Presley on developing the rule. “The utility waiver is another resource for victims of domestic violence in an effort to assist them in financial independence and security,” Mahoney said.

Presley thanked his fellow Public Service Commissioners for supporting the proposal. “There is no way we could have gotten this done without the steadfast support of Commissioner Steve Renfroe and Commissioner Lynn Posey.”

For more information on the rule, please contact the Public Service Commission at 1-800-637-7722 or the Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence at 1-800-898-3234.

for more information contact: Commissioner Brandon Presley ~ P.O. Box 1174 ~ Jackson, MS 39215-1174 1-800-356-6428 ~