Utility bill relief funding still available, City of Austin customers urged to act now

October 2, 2020

Additional utility relief funding, approved by the Austin City Council in April, is still available to those in need of financial assistance. To date, City of Austin Utilities has provided more than $6 million to more than 10,500 customers who needed help paying their utility bills due to COVID-19 and more funding is obtainable. Customers are urged to seek assistance now to avoid collection activities.  

As City of Austin Utilities begins a phased-in approach to standard collection processes, we want to continue to help as many customers as possible. In addition to financial aid, City of Austin Utilities is offering a new, more flexible payment option that allows customers to pay outstanding balances over a longer time. Customers can spread their payments over 36 months, instead of the standard 24-month payment arrangement. If customers have a past-due bill, we encourage them to act now to avoid late-payment fees and maintain services without interruption. Late fees will resume beginning in November and disconnections for non-payment are expected to resume in early 2021.

"City of Austin Utilities has many options available to help customers during this difficult time, but we need them to contact us so that we can provide assistance," said Elaine Veselka, vice president of Customer Account Management. "We know our customers are facing hardships and we want to help them avoid accumulating large, unpaid balances."
Customers who need help beyond a payment plan are encouraged to contact us to review other available payment options and assistance programs. The City of Austin Customer Assistance Program (CAP) helps utility customers facing temporary and long-term financial difficulties, as well as those with serious medical problems. The Utility Bill Discount Program and the Plus 1 Financial Support Program provide direct, targeted relief to the most vulnerable customers experiencing hardship in paying utility bills. A 10-15 percent reduction in electric, water and wastewater rates for customers enrolled in the City of Austin’s Customer Assistance Program (CAP) will continue for the entirety of fiscal year 2021.

The City also wants to alert customers that there are utility scammers who may try to trick them out of money and personal information. The scammers often try to dupe people by telling them their utility bill is past due and that their utilities will be shut off if they don’t make an immediate payment. The City will never demand immediate payment over the phone and will not threaten to shut off your utilities over the phone. Find out how to spot a utility scam and how to protect yourself.

Please contact City of Austin Utilities as soon as possible to pay your balance or enter into a payment arrangement at 512-494-9400. To see if you qualify for bill assistance, visit AustinBillHelp.com https://www.financialsupportplus1.com to learn what options may be available if you have been impacted by COVID-19 and are having trouble paying your utility bills. The City is committed to working with customers during this difficult time.