Help with Utilities During COVID-19
The Texas Public Utility Commission has temporarily halted electricity, water, and sewage shutoffs due to Winter Storm Uri. It is not clear at this time how long shutoffs will be suspended.
Contact Your Provider: If you cannot pay your electricity contact your utility provider. Even if your utility company has stated it will halt shutoffs due to emergency order, local ordinance, or by voluntary action, contact your utility provider. You may need to ask for help to avoid shutoffs.
If you purchase your electricity from a city, they may have their own assistance program in place. Some city and government-owned utilities have halted electricity shutoffs due to COVID, including:
Be sure you contact your provider to find out how to participate in their assistance programs.
Many cities have also created programs to help with utility bills. Be sure to go to your utility provider's website to learn about these programs.
Contact Your Utility Provider
The best thing you can do to keep your utilities on may be to contact your utility providers. There are a number of programs that might help you if you ask.
Some cities have also created programs to help with utility bills.
Contact your water and sewer provider to see if they are suspending shutoffs. They may also work with you to defer payments.
Also, some natural gas providers have voluntarily halted natural gas shutoffs due to COVID-19.
Companies halting gas shutoffs:
- Atmos - Until further notice
- Centerpoint - Until further notice
- Corix - Until further notice
- Coserv - Coserv has resumed shutoffs, but go here to see how may get help with your gas bill.
- Epcor - Until further notice (no shutoffs for residences, businesses may defer payments for 30 days)
- Texas Gas Service - Has resumed shutoffs, but go here to see how you may get help with your gas bill.
- Texas-Kansas-Oklahoma Gas - Until further notice
The above list may be incomplete or out of date. Whether listed here or not, contact your gas provider to ask about programs to keep your gas connected.
Note that you will still owe money for unpaid gas bills. Participating companies have said only that they will temporarily halt shutoffs for nonpayment.
Most electric and water providers in Texas must help you defer your bills if you ask. If you have complaints about your utility provider, call the Public Utility Commission of Texas at 888-782-8477, or email email@example.com.
You can also apply for help paying your utility bill at:
- Texas Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program (CEAP)
- Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Texas Rent Relief Program
Or call 211 for more options.
Some internet providers have special deals that can help.
- Spectrum has low-income internet available in some areas. See Spectrum's Internet Assist program.
- Xfinity is offering free wi-fi hotspots in some areas. See more here.
- AT&T has low-income internet available in some areas. See AT&T's Access program.
- Internet Essentials is offering two free months of internet service to qualifying customers. See more here.
Some schools are also doing their best to provide internet access to students. Austin, for example, has a fleet of buses that provide WiFi throughout the school district. (If you live in Austin, see the Austin ISD WiFi bus map.)
Also see the Texas Free Wifi Map to see if there is free public WiFi in your area.
For information on whether your child's school district helps provide access to the internet and online classes, go to the school's website, school district's website, or contact your school administrators.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
No, your landlord cannot shut off your utilities. This is true even if you are behind on rent.
For more information:
Maybe. The following programs exist to help people pay utilities:
- Amarillo: Amarillo residents may be able to get help by applying with Amarillo Community Development.
- Austin: You can apply for help through Austin Energy's Plus 1 Program.
- Beaumont: Beaumont is working with local charities to provide help with rent and utilities. Contact Some Other Place (409-832-7976) or Habitat for Humanity (409-832-5853) to apply. The application can be found on the Beaumont website.
- Belton: You can apply for utility assistance through the United Way of Central Texas.
- Brownsville: Go here to learn how to apply for assistance through Project SHARE. You can also contact Catholic Social Services at 956-541-0220.
- Burnet: Burnet's most recent round of utility assistance ended on September 21, but go here for updates and to see if more help becomes available.
- City of Dallas: Go to the Dallas City Hall website to learn how to apply for help paying utility and other household bills. Assistance is also available to businesses.
- El Paso area: Contact Project Bravo or Amistad's CARES program to see if you qualify for their utility assistance program.
- Georgetown: Call 512-930-3460 or go to the Opportunities website to apply.
- Harris County: Harris county residents can also apply for up to $1,200 through the Harris County COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Program. Also, see this list of local organizations that provide rent, utility, food, clothing, and other assistance (from the Harris County Housing Authority).
- Hidalgo County: See the Hidalgo County Community Service Agency website to learn how to apply for help with utilities and other bills.
- Killeen: See the Killeen City website to apply for help with water and sewage.
- Laredo: Go here to learn how to apply for Laredo's Utility Relief Program (water only).
- Lubbock and surrounding area: City of Lubbock residents can to the Lubbock Community Development Department to apply for help with rent, house payments, and utilities.The Salvation Army also is providing rent and utility help to the Lubbock area. Call 800-765-9434 for an appointment regarding Salvation Army assistance.
See the Lubbock Utilities website for additional organizations that might be able to help.
- Mesquite: Mesquite residents can apply for rent, mortgage, and utility help by calling Catholic Charities Dallas at 214-257-0674 or by emailing CCDdisaster@ccdallas.org.
- Missouri City: Apply for help on the Missouri City website or call 281-403-8690.
- Pearland: Pearland residents can apply for help with rent an utilities on the city's emergency assistance website.
- San Antonio: San Antonio's Fair Housing program helps with utilities, internet access, rent, and mortgages. Learn how to apply on the program's website.
- Tarrant County: Apply for help through Community Action Partners.
- Temple: You can apply for utility, rent, and mortage assistance through the United Way of Central Texas.
- Williamson County: See this flyer to learn how to apply for help with rent and utilities in Williamson County.
- Texas Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program (CEAP)
- Texas Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
- Greater East Texas Community Action Program
- Call the 211 Texas information service to see if there are additional programs near you that can help with your utility bills.
This list is likely incomplete, so you may want to check with your local government or utility provider to see if they have additional programs.