City of Austin Utility Bill Relief

Emergency Measures in Response to COVID-19

City of Austin
Residential customers experiencing financial hardships as well as those impacted by COVID-19 can receive help with their utility bills.
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In recognition of the impact that COVID-19 is having on the entire Austin community, Austin City Council approved emergency utility bill relief efforts effective April 9, 2020, through October 31, 2020. These changes will provide approximately $46 million in utility bill relief.

How the City is Helping with Rate Adjustments and Reductions

Reduced Austin Energy Residential and Commercial Regulatory Charge

Austin Energy is reducing Regulatory Charges by $25 million. This change will help both commercial and residential customers, saving them roughly 4% on their electric bills. The Regulatory Charge recovers Austin Energy’s share of the statewide costs associated with the transmission grid, as well as other regulatory fees.

Residential customers will see this change immediately, but the changes in the Regulatory Charges for commercial customers will take effect May 1, 2020.

Austin Energy Reduction of Rates for all Residential Usage Over 1,000 kWh

Austin Energy is reducing all residential customers’ rates at higher consumption levels. This action is temporarily setting residential electric rates at $0.07814/kWh for all usage above 1,000 kWh.

Existing rates were designed to send conservation price signals to customers. However, at this time, customers have less control over whether they may hit higher tiers, causing bills to increase more dramatically. This action provides relief for customers whose consumption increases as a result of Stay Home – Work Safe.

Get more information about residential electric rates

Austin Water Reduction in Water Rates for all Residential Customers

Most residential customers will see immediate savings on their water bill. Austin Water is providing a 10% reduction in residential water (Tiers 1-3) and wastewater (Tiers 1-2) volume rates, which is projected to provide an estimated $6 million in utility bill savings.

Get more information about residential water rates

How the City is Expanding Customer Assistance

City of Austin Utilities is offering extended payment arrangement agreements, as well as increasing the discount for the Customer Assistance Programs (CAP), which provide help to utility customers who face temporary and long-term financial difficulties, as well as those with serious medical problems.

Payment Arrangements

City of Austin Utilities is also offering a new, more flexible payment option that allows customers to pay outstanding balances over a longer time. Customers who have been financially impacted by COVID-19 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.

Additional Plus 1 Contributions

Austin Energy and Austin Water will each contribute an additional $5 million, a combined $10 million, to the Plus 1 financial support program. This will result in a grand total of $12.8 million in Plus 1 assistance for City of Austin Utilities customers in FY2020.

Customers who experience financial hardship due to the effects of COVID-19 are now eligible for the Plus 1 Program. The utilities are also making programmatic changes, focusing on responsiveness and flexibility for quickly verifying eligibility and enrolling customers with a financial hardship.

CAP Utility Bill Discount Improvements

The CAP discount for electric customers increases from 10% to 15% until October 31, 2021. CAP customers will not pay the $10/month Customer Charge and the CAP portion of the Community Benefit Charge. This action is estimated to provide $1 million in additional support for CAP customers.

City of Austin Utilities also seeks to enroll more customers who are eligible for CAP under recent program expansion. Customers with household incomes at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level may now receive the CAP discount.

Get more information about Customer Assistance Programs (CAP)

If You Have Questions or Need Assistance

Late fees will resume beginning in November and disconnections for non-payment are expected to resume in early 2021. Customers who are having difficulty paying their utility bills should contact City of Austin Utilities now at 512-494-9400.

Learn More

Date last reviewed or modified: 9/25/20

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