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Help with Utilities

House & Apartment

This article has tips to help you pay your utility bills and prevent disconnections.

If you have trouble paying your bills, apply for help and contact your provider. You can apply for assistance through Texas Utility Help or one of the local programs listed below.

How do I keep my water and electricity connected?

Contact Your Provider: If you cannot pay your electricity contact your utility provider. While most providers have resumed shutoffs, many will work with you to set up a payment plan or find assistance. The sooner you contact your provider, the better.

Many cities and utility providers have also created programs to help with utility bills.

Go to Texas Utility Help for the statewide assistance program. You can also go to Help for Texans to search for local programs that can give emergency utility assistance. Select "Utility Bill Payment Help" and enter your city or county at the bottom of the page.

What about natural gas service?

Most gas providers have programs to help you pay your bill:

The above list may be incomplete. Whether listed here or not, contact your gas provider to ask about programs to keep your gas connected.

What about internet?

Many internet providers have programs to help people suffering hardship due to COVID-19. Contact your provider to benefit from these programs.

For more help affording internet, see our Internet Access article.

For help finding free public internet access, see the Texas Free WiFi Map.

Can I defer my bills?

Many providers will help you work out a payment plan if you ask. Moreover, most private electric and water providers in Texas must let you defer your bills if there is a natural disaster declaration or a cold weather emergency.

A cold weather emergency occurs when the temperature is below 28 degrees or lower for two days. The emergency ends on the second business day that the temperature rises above 28 degrees. You have thirty days after the emergency to request a payment plan.

If you have complaints about your utility provider, call the Public Utility Commission of Texas at 888-782-8477, or email customer@puc.texas.gov. State that you are a disaster survivor in the subject line.

You can also apply for help paying your utility bill at:

Or call 211 for more options.

My kids need the internet for school, but I can't afford it. What can I do?

Learn about internet assistance programs and affordable options.

Also see the Texas Free Wifi Map to see if there is free public WiFi in your area.

Does this mean I won't owe money for utilities?

No. Talking to your company may help avoid late fees or lessen the amount you owe. However, even if your company has paused shutoffs or helped you with deferment, you must eventually pay your bills.

If you have complaints about your utility provider, call the Public Utility Commission of Texas at 888-782-8477, or email customer@puc.texas.gov. 

My landlord shut off my utilities. Can they do that?

No, your landlord cannot shut off your utilities. This is true even if you are behind on rent.

For more information, see Utilities and Landlord/Tenant Issues.

Can I get help paying my utilities?

Maybe. In addition to Texas Utility Help, the following programs exist to help people pay utilities

Service Area Program
Amarillo Amarillo Community Development
City of Austin Customer Assistance Program
Beaumont

Some Other Place at (409)832-7976 or

Habitat for Humanity at (409)832-5853

Belton United Way of Central Texas
Brazoria County BakerRipley Utility Assistance
Brownsville Project SHARE or Catholic Charities at (956)541-0220
Burnet County Opportunities online or call (512)930-3460
El Paso Region

Project Bravo or

Amistad's CARES program

Fort Ben County Fort Bend Co. Social Services
Galveston County

BakerRipley Utility Assistance or

Galveston Co. Community Action Council or

Catholic Charities

Harris County BakerRipley Utility Assistance and others
Hidalgo County Hidalgo County Community Service Agency
Lubbock Region

Lubbock Community Development Department or

the Salvation Army at 800-765-9434 

See also the Lubbock Utilities website.

Mesquite Catholic Charities Dallas at 214-257-0674 or by emailing CCDdisaster@ccdallas.org
Montgomery County Crisis Assistance Center
Nueces County Nueces Co. Community Action Agency
Pearland Pearland Neighborhood Center
San Antonio

SAWS online portal or by phone at 210-704-SAWS (water only)

San Antonio's Fair Housing program also helps with utilities, internet access, rent, and mortgages. Learn how to apply on the program's website

Tarrant County Community Action Partners
Wharton County

Galveston Co. Community Action Council

Williamson County

Opportunities online or call (512)930-3460

Also, this flyer has information on additional rent and utility assistance programs

This list is incomplete. You may want to call 211 Texas or check with your local government or utility provider to see if they have additional programs.

I was not even home due to evacuation or some other reason. Why is my bill so high?

Electric providers can base your bill on estimated use. This provider should note this on your bill. Look at the PUC’s information page about charges on your electric bill. Ask your utility company to give you accurate billing information rather than estimated use.

What if I can't pay in person or by mail due to a natural disaster?

If you are in a declared disaster area, fees for online payment or by phone are waived. If you usually pay by mail, check the USPS website for service disruption alerts and to see if your post office is open. Or, sign up for the USPS hold mail service. Contact the USPS at 1-800-275-8777.

How can I find out if the power is out in my area?

Check the Texas Public Utility Commission’s outage map for your electricity provider. 

Note that the PUC does not have outage maps for phone service (including mobile), water, or natural gas. Contact your provider for information on these services.

I'm confused. Who do I call?

Texas has a complicated patchwork of public and private utility sellers and resellers. If in doubt, contact your providers.

Be sure to write down the time you contacted the provider, the name of the person you talked to, and what was said.

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