COVID-19: Information on Household Utilities/Bills

We know hardworking Texans are struggling. Here is helpful quick tip sheet on utility bills during the worldwide healthcare crisis.

Water, Sewer & Gas Utilities

In general, disconnections are now temporarily suspended for most utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But payment is not forgiven. Utilities still plan to collect payment later. In all cases, you should contact the utility and request a payment deferral.

Electricity

Under the COVID-19 Electricity Relief Program, electric utilities in most Texas cities and towns will now allow consumers to request a deferral payment plan OR get on a list to avoid service suspension. BUT customers will still need to prove their jobless status, eventually, by applying for unemployment insurance benefits.  (Some cities such as Austin, San Antonio, El Paso and parts of East Texas are served by electric companies that you must call directly. They may not require proof of job loss.)

Low Income List Administrator (LILA) at 866-454-8387. 

http://www.puc.texas.gov/images/facts/PUCTX-COVID19-FAQ-FAQ.pdf

To apply for unemployment compensation, read this guide: https://www.texasaflcio.org/unemployment-insurance-guide

Cable & Phone

Generally, customers who are unable to pay their wireless, broadband or home phone due to job loss as a result of the COVID-10 pandemic will have their charges and late fees suspended for 60 days without termination of service. However, keep in mind that the bill will be due at some point also.

HELPFUL NOTE: When you call your service providers, make sure that you mention that your inability to pay and your request for payment deferral is due to a loss of income resulting from the COVID-19 epidemic. Otherwise, they will assume that you still have a job and can pay your bills.

The Public Utility Commission of Texas regulates power, water, sewer and telecommunication services. http://www.puc.texas.gov/agency/about/mission.aspx

Municipalities have jurisdiction over natural gas service in their jurisdiction. The Texas Railroad Commission has appellate authority in cases where the gas service is not owned by the municipality. https://www.rrc.state.tx.us/about-us/resource-center/faqs/gas-services-faqs/faq-texas-natural-gas-rates/

Disclaimer: The Texas AFL-CIO is a federation of different labor organizations. We advocate for our affiliates and their members, collectively before the appropriate governmental bodies. However, we cannot respond to individual cases. Learn more about us at: https://www.texasaflcio.org/who-we-are

Placement