Deposits

Is the utility allowed to charge me a deposit if I'm a residential customer?

Yes, your utility may require a deposit to guarantee future payment if you:

  • Have not had residential service with the utility for 12 consecutive months within the past one and one-half years,
  • Were late paying your bill twice during that time, if you had service,
  • Paid with a check that was not honored by your bank during that period, or
  • Had your service disconnected for non-payment.

If your deposit was refunded but later you were late in paying or had other payment issues, the utility may reinstitute a deposit requirement, and you will need to meet the criteria above again to receive a refund.

An electric cooperative must pay interest on customer deposits only if the cooperative's bylaws require members to pay costs that are not covered by electricity rates charged during the year.

Is the utility allowed to charge me a deposit if I'm a business customer?

Yes, your business utility may require a deposit to guarantee future payment, as stated in the utility's written deposit policy.

An electric cooperative must pay interest on customer deposits only if the cooperative's bylaws require members to pay costs that are not covered by electricity rates charged during the year.

An electric cooperative must pay interest on deposits only if its bylaws provide for assignment of margins to members or consumers.

Does the utility keep my deposit until I close my residential account?

No, the utility must return your residential deposit to you with interest after 12 consecutive months of service if you:

  • Were not late paying your residential bill more than once during that time,
  • Did not pay with a check that was dishonored by your bank during that period, and
  • Have not had your service disconnected for non-payment during that time.

Does the water, electricity or natural gas utility keep my deposit until I close my business account?

No, the water, electricity or natural gas utility must return your business deposit with interest after five consecutive years of service if you:

  • Were not late paying your bill more than once during that time,
  • Did not pay with a check that was dishonored by your bank during that period, and
  • Have not had your service disconnected for non-payment during that time.

If your deposit was refunded but later your business was late in paying or had other payment issues, the utility may reinstitute a deposit requirement. If that deposit is less than $20,000, it is refundable following 24 consecutive months of service if you meet the criteria listed in the bulleted section above during the full two years.

Does the telephone utility keep my deposit until I close my business account?

The telephone utility must return your business deposit with interest as stated in the utility's written deposit policy.

How much can the utility charge for a residential deposit?

The residential deposit cannot be more than one-sixth of your total estimated utility bill for the coming year. For example, if your electric company estimated your total bill for the year should be about $930, your deposit could be up to $55.80.

How much can the utility charge for a business deposit?

The deposit depends on the expected amount of your business utility usage, your credit rating and other factors listed in the utility's written deposit policy.

How much interest will I get back on the deposit?

The Commission's Public Utility Division annually publishes interest rates that must be paid by utilities when they refund deposits. Deposits held for a year or less are paid interest based on average yields for U.S. Treasury one-year securities. Deposits held longer than a year are paid interest based on average yields set for 10-year securities.

Most recent Customer Deposit Interest Rates

Where are the Commissions rules concerning customer deposits?