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Help with Utilities During COVID-19

House & Apartment

This article has tips to help you pay your utility bills and prevent disconnections.

Private utility providers may resume service disconnects on June 29, 2021. You may still be able to defer payments and get help through a rent/utility assistance program. If you have trouble paying your bills, apply for help and contact your provider.

How do I keep my water and electricity connected?

Contact Your Provider: If you cannot pay your electricity contact your utility provider. While most providers have resumed shutoffs, many will work with you to set up a payment plan or find assistance. The sooner you contact your provider, the better.

Many cities and utility providers have also created programs to help with utility bills.

Go to Help for Texans to search for other local programs that can give emergency utility assistance. Select "Utility Bill Payment Help" and enter your city or county at the bottom of the page.

What about natural gas service?

Some natural gas providers have voluntarily halted natural gas shutoffs due to COVID-19.

Companies halting gas shutoffs:

  • Atmos - Until further notice
  • Centerpoint - Has resumed shutoffs, but go here to see how you may get help with your gas bill.
  • Corix - Until further notice, but go here to see how you may get help with your gas bill.
  • Coserv - Coserv has resumed shutoffs, but go here to see how may get help with your gas bill.
  • Texas Gas Service - Has resumed shutoffs, but go here to see how you may get help with your gas bill.
  • Texas-Kansas-Oklahoma Gas - Until further notice

The above list may be incomplete or out of date. Whether listed here or not, contact your gas provider to ask about programs to keep your gas connected.

Note that you will still owe money for unpaid gas bills. Participating companies have said only that they will temporarily halt shutoffs for nonpayment.

What about internet?

Many internet providers have programs to help people suffering hardship due to COVID-19. Contact your provider to benefit from these programs.

For more help affording internet, see our Internet Access article.

For help finding free public internet access, see the Texas Free WiFi Map.

I asked my electricity provider for a deferment, but they refused. What now?

Most electric and water providers in Texas must help you defer your bills if you ask. If you have complaints about your utility provider, call the Public Utility Commission of Texas at 888-782-8477, or email customer@puc.texas.gov

You can also apply for help paying your utility bill at:

Or call 211 for more options.

My kids need the internet for school, but I can't afford it. What can I do?

Learn about internet assistance programs and affordable options.

Some schools are also doing their best to provide internet access to students. Austin, for example, has a fleet of buses that provide WiFi throughout the school district. (If you live in Austin, see the Austin ISD WiFi bus map.)

Also see the Texas Free Wifi Map to see if there is free public WiFi in your area.

For information on whether your child's school district helps provide access to the internet and online classes, go to the school's website, school district's website, or contact your school administrators.

Does this mean I won't owe money for utilities?

No. Talking to your company may help avoid late fees or lessen the amount you owe. However, even if your company has paused shutoffs or helped you with deferment, you must eventually pay your bills.

If you have complaints about your utility provider, call the Public Utility Commission of Texas at 888-782-8477, or email customer@puc.texas.gov. 

I'm confused. Who do I call? Are my utility providers halting shutoffs?

Texas has a complicated patchwork of public and private utility sellers and resellers. If in doubt, contact your providers.

Be sure to write down the time you contacted the provider, the name of the person you talked to, and what was said.

My landlord shut off my utilities. Can they do that?

No, your landlord cannot shut off your utilities. This is true even if you are behind on rent.

For more information:

Can I get help paying my utilities?

Maybe. The following programs exist to help people pay utilities:

This list is likely incomplete, so you may want to check with your local government or utility provider to see if they have additional programs.