PSC rule aims to help Mississippians flee domestic abuse

 A  new Public Service Commission rule that requires utilities to postpone collecting initial deposits for 60 days for certified victims of domestic violence goes into effect today. The rule,  written 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 in a release from his office.

The utility deposit waiver was approved unanimously by the Public Service Commission on Sept. 9 and filed with the Secretary of State’s office the following day. Mississippi law requires a 30-day period before a new rule goes into effect. 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 60 days, the release 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,” he said.