The Public Utility Commission (PUC)of Texas on Oct. 3 approved an emergency rule to provide deposit waivers for both Hurricane Katrina and Rita victims when applying for new basic local telephone and electric service in Texas.
The waivers are good for 60 days and are designed to make it easier for hurricane victims to establish a new residence. Some Texas providers already have voluntarily waived deposit requirements and eliminated installation fees. Last month, the PUC ordered electric and telephone deposit waivers for Hurricane Katrina victims.
The order is effective until Dec. 2. The Commission will review the issue over the next few months to determine if an extension is warranted.
Hurricane victims may also be eligible for other utility programs to make it easier to establish a new residence. These include Link-up and Lifeline program benefits for low-income telephone customers, average bill payment plans, utility-sponsored payment assistance funds, and shopping for the best value in phone and electric service.
The PUC does not have the authority to waive deposit requirements for customers of municipal electric utilities and electric cooperatives, but the Commission encourages these entities to authorize such waivers.