Learn how survivors of family violence and other victims of crime may have their service deposit fees waived for utilities such as gas, electricity, and telephone service. Such fees are usually required for establishing utility services. Special thanks to the Texas Council on Family Violence for its contributions to this article.
What is a utility waiver?
A utility waiver is an agreement that victims of family violence and other victims of crime do not have to pay a utility deposit for utilities such as gas, electricity, and telephone services.
Where can I find the law that governs this right?
The law that governs this right can be found in the Texas Administrative Code, Public Utility Commission of Texas Title 16, Part 2, Chapter 25, Subchapter R, Section 25.478(a)(3)(D).
Are there any requirements to receive the waiver?
Yes. In order to have these fees waived you must submit a letter to the service provider.
Who must submit the letter?
A staff member of a certifying entity must determine that the applicant of the waiver is a victim of family violence as defined in Texas Family Code 71.004 and sign the letter. The following is a list of people who can certify and sign the letter:
Family violence center personnel,
Treating medical personnel,
Law enforcement personnel,
A Texas district or county attorney,
A designee of the Office of the Attorney General Crime Services Division,
A grantee of the Texas Access to Justice Foundation.
Do I need to submit any proof of violence?
The applicant only needs to provide their statement to substantiate the violence. They are not required to provide any additional proof or documentation, such as a police report, protective order, etc.
Can the waiver only be used once?
No. A survivor may use the ability to waive a deposit more than once as they may be forced to relocate due to their abuser.