Water Groups Fight Deposit Delay for Abuse Victims

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Jackson, Miss.

Water utilities are fighting the Mississippi Public Service Commission's proposal to allow victims of domestic abuse to hook up utilities without immediately paying deposits.

A number of water utility representatives testified against the measure at a Tuesday hearing, saying the commission doesn't have authority to require them to grant such relief.

Their testimony is drawing a rebuke from Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley. A Democrat who represents the Northern District on the three-member PSC, Presley backs the measure as a way to help people get out of dangerous situations.

Mississippi's proposal is modeled after similar measures in Louisiana and Texas. It would allow people certified as victims by certain agencies to delay paying deposits for 60 days.

Commissioners say they will consider comments before voting on the rule.