The City of Austin charges fees and deposits to start utility service. We provide ways to waive deposits, and we refund them with interest when certain conditions are met.

Fees Required to Start Service

  • $20 to start electric or water service
  • $15 to start solid waste service

Security Deposits Required to Start Service

  • A $200 deposit is required to begin residential service.

How to Get Your Security Deposit Waived

Qualifying residential customers who start new services may be eligible to have their deposit waived if one of the following conditions applies to their household:

  • Has a record of satisfactory compliance with customer payment standards on a previous City of Austin Utility account.
  • Provides a letter of reference from another electric, gas, or water utility.
  • Provides a Landlord Letter of reference form (pdf) showing at least one metered utility was included in the monthly rental amount.
  • Is enrolled in Autopay and eBill paperless billing.
  • Is 65 years of age or older.
  • Is a service member returning after deployment.
  • Is a victim of domestic abuse.
  • Qualifies as displaced tenants eligible for tenant relocation assistance.
  • Any resident at the service address who qualifies as medically indigent.

Deposit Waiver Eligibility Conditions Explained

City of Austin Utility Account History

The City will waive your deposit if you previously had a City of Austin Utility account and the history shows a record of satisfactory compliance with customer payment standards.

Account must show:

  • No disconnections for non-payment.
  • No late payments.
  • No outstanding balances.
  • 12 months of consecutive service.
  • No engagement in the unlawful use of service or utility service diversion.

Letter of Reference

The City will waive your deposit after it receives a letter of reference from your current electric, gas, or water utility.

Have your previous utility provider fax the letter to 512-505-4035 or email it to Customer Care.

The letter of reference must show:

  • No late payments.
  • For residential customers — no disconnections for non-payment during the last 12 consecutive billing cycles.

The letter of reference must include:

  • The utility service provider's name — the provider must be your current electric, gas, or water utility.
  • The name on the utility account — the name must be the same as that of customer requesting service.
  • Type of account — residential, commercial.
  • Service address.
  • Service dates.
  • Payment history.
  • Average bill amount.

Landlord Letter of Reference Form

For new customers who had a rental agreement where one or more metered utilities were included in the monthly rental amount, the City will waive your deposit after receiving a signed copy of your lease and completed Landlord Letter of reference form (pdf)

Fax the letter to 512-505-4035 or email it to Customer Care.

The landlord letter of reference form must show:

  • You were the tenant responsible for the monthly rental amount.
  • The lease term was for the preceding 12 months.
  • No late payments within the 12 preceding months.
  • No returned payments within the 12 preceding months.
  • No outstanding balance.

Enrollment in Autopay and eBill Paperless Billing

The City will waive your deposit if you enroll in Autopay and eBill paperless billing, provided that you remain on Autopay and eBill for a minimum of 12 billing cycles. 

If you terminate Autopay enrollment or have a payment returned for insufficient funds before the minimum of 12 billing cycles is met, the $200 security deposit will be assessed on your account.

Customers 65 Years of Age and Older

If you are a new customer, the City will waive your security deposit if you provide a letter of reference from another metered utility or landlord (who provides utilities) where service was provided during any of the 18 preceding months. The signed letter must state that the account has no outstanding balance.

Current customers 65 years of age or older, who are starting new services and who are not past due on their current utility account, will have the deposit waived on the new services. 

Fax the letter to 512-505-4035 or email it to Customer Care.

Service Members Returning After Deployment

The City will waive your deposit if you provide a copy of U.S. Military orders documenting that you were deployed at any time during the preceding 12 months.

Fax the letter to 512-505-4035 or email it to Customer Care.

Victims of Domestic Abuse

The City will waive your deposit if you provide a certification letter (pdf) from the Texas Council on Family Violence.

Fax the letter to 512-505-4035 or email it to Customer Care.

Displaced Tenants Eligible for Tenant Relocation Assistance

The City will waive your deposit if notification is provided by Neighborhood Housing and Community Development indicating you are a recipient of Tenant Relocation Assistance under City code § 25-1-714 Tenant Relocation Program.

Medically Indigent

The City will waive your deposit if any resident at the service address qualifies as medically indigent. To qualify, you must meet the current eligibility requirements for the City's Customer Assistance Program and provide a letter from a licensed health care provider confirming that the medically indigent resident is unable to perform 3 or more activities of daily living as defined by Texas Administrative Code §224.4-Part 1 - Activities of daily living.

How to Get Your Deposit Refunded

The City may refund your deposit to your account, including interest earned, when you discontinue service. The City deposit will be refunded in the month after compliance under the following condition:

  • For residential customers — the total balance due has been paid before the penalty due date during the last 12 consecutive billing cycles for the same account.

Learn More

Date last reviewed or modified: 1/31/20