Utility moratoriums have ended in many states, but millions of families are still struggling to pay their energy bills. There are government and charity resources available to help you pay your electric, gas and water bills. Public utility services, like the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), regulate private utility providers in their state and often have discounts and payment plans available for households that qualify. This varies by your county, city and state. Here are some national and state-specific resources to help you keep the lights on:
What should I do if I can’t pay my utility bill?
First, you should contact your utility provider. Even if you owe money or you have made a late payment, it’s important to avoid having your service cut off for nonpayment. There may be reconnection fees and you might have to pay a deposit to turn your services on again. Ask if there are repayment plans or consumer programs that you are eligible to apply for: municipal and state utility commissions often have options available. Private companies are usually less willing to provide this type of flexibility.
What if my utility provider doesn’t acknowledge my financial hardship?
If your utility company doesn’t give you any options for payment that work for your income level, here are some resources to try first:
- Benefits.gov U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: Select your state on the LIHEAP local office map (Learn more about how to apply for LIHEAP here)
- If you need help finding your local energy assistance office, contact the National Energy Assistance Referral (NEAR):
- Llame NEAR: 866-674-6327 (toll-free)
- firstname.lastname@example.org (include your city, county, state)
- Catholic Charities: Find a location near you
Here are some state specific resources for California, Florida, New York and Texas:
California’s utility moratorium was extended through the end of September 2021. In June, CA utility companies automatically enrolled residential customers who were more than 60 days behind on their energy bills to a “COVID-19 Residential Relief Payment Plan”. Contact your provider for more information.
• Comisión de servicios públicos: Asistencia financiera, ahorros y descuentos
• Programa de asistencia de tarifa eléctrica familiar (FERA)
• California Alternate Rates for Energy: Apply for CARE (Contact your utility company or go to their website to request an application)
Florida does not have a current moratorium on utility shutoffs. Here are some government and nonprofit resources for payment assistance and relief:
• Comisión de servicios públicos: Programas por condado
• United Way Central Florida
• Access 2-1-1 por teléfono o texto (envía un mensaje de texto con tu código postal: 898-211)
Utility moratoriums in Texas ended in June. Here are some government and nonprofit resources that are currently available:
• El Departamento de Vivienda y Asuntos Comunitarios de Texas
• Caridades Católicas Dallas
• Austin: Ayuda para pagar su factura
• El Paso: Project BRAVO (Solicitud para servicios 2021)
As of now, the COVID-19 utility moratorium is current through December 31, 2021:
• ConED: Ayuda para pagar su factura
• Programa de Asistencia para el Consumo de Energía del Hogar o llame al 1-800-342-3334