In recognition of the impact of COVID-19 on the Austin community, Austin City Council approved emergency utility bill relief efforts in April 2020.
This included temporary reductions in electric and water rates through October 31, 2020, more flexible payment arrangements, and increased customer assistance funds available so long as funds remain. These measures will collectively provide approximately $46 million in utility bill relief.
Expanded 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.
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.
Customers who experience financial hardship due to the effects of COVID-19 are now eligible for the Plus 1 financial support 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.
If You Have Questions or Need Assistance
Late fees will resume beginning in November and disconnections for non-payment are expected to resume in 2021.
Customers who are having difficulty paying their utility bills should contact City of Austin Utilities now at 512-494-9400.