Residential Customer Assistance Program – Emergency Financial Assistance Plus 1 (COVID19)
Who is eligible for these emergency funds?
Plus 1 Emergency Assistance is available to any City of Austin residential utility bill customer who is experiencing an emergency in their household such as an inability to work, or has had their income impacted in some other way because the customer is dealing with one of the following scenarios as of March 13, 2020:
is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID‐19;
has been advised by a health care provider to self‐quarantine related to COVID‐19;
is experiencing COVID‐19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
is caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self‐quarantine as described in (2);
is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or childcare provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID‐19.
How much assistance am I eligible to receive?
A household requesting emergency utility assistance from the City of Austin may receive up to $3,000 in a rolling 12-month period for a total maximum allowed per account holder.
How many times can I ask for assistance?
A household can request assistance as many times as needed not to exceed the $3,000 limit set for the program maximum. However some limitations will apply as to how many times you can request assistance through the same partnering agency or the austinbillhelp website.
How will the funds make it to my account?
Once you have been approved for emergency assistance the funds will be directly applied to the residential customer’s account.
Will I get 100% of the funds I requested?
All accounts will be reviewed to ensure they are in compliance with program guidelines. Funds can and will be reduced to ensure compliance.
Can I be denied access to these emergency funds for any reason?
Yes, if any of the following conditions apply to your account:
You are requesting assistance for a commercial account
If you have tampered with your meter or are under investigation for meter tampering
Can these funds pay for my deposit?
No, unfortunately these dollars cannot be used to pay for deposits.
How many times can I go to the same agency to receive emergency assistance?
A household can go to their local community partnering agency or the austinbillhelp website to receive assistance up to 4 times in a rolling 12-month period. Program dollar maximums still apply.
How do partners decide who/how much to help?
Each agency has developed its own eligibility criteria, priorities, case work documentation, and tracking of disbursements.
Where do Plus 1 funds come from?
Funding comes from several different sources, including customer donations, the Community Benefit Charge which can be found on your bill, as well as internal allocations.
Can Plus 1 assistance help with other bills?
No. Plus1 can only pay for COA residential utility bills.
What if I have multiple Austin Energy residential accounts?
Emergency funds can only be used to pay for your primary residential accounts.
What other programs are available to help lower utility bills?
Austin Energy provides two additional programs to assist customers with high bills. The Discount Program provides monthly discounts on services for qualifying residential customers. Our Weatherization Program provides free or low-cost energy efficiency improvements to your home to reduce energy consumption. For more information, customers can visit austinenergy.com
Where do I call or who do I contact if I have a complaint?
You can call or email us to address any issues or concerns you may have on accessing these funds.
If I do not use the full amount available am I able to roll over the funds into another year?
It is a rolling year so it wouldn’t apply
Am I eligible for these funds if I am currently enrolled in other AE programs?
I operate a small business out of my home. I am eligible for this program?
If your account is identified as a residential account in our system then yes. If you are not sure submit your request and we will notify you either way.
I was not aware of the benefits offered by this program and have been unable to pay my bill for a previous month. Am I able to apply the funds to a previous month if I am able to show proof that I was affected prior to applying?
Yes, these funds can be used for past due debt up to when the COVID orders were put in place.
I was not aware of the benefits offered by this program and have paid my bill for a previous month. Am I able to receive a credit for a previous month if I am able to show proof that I was affected prior to applying?
Unfortunately these funds can only be used for debt owed and cannot be used to create a credit on your account.
I am caring for another individual in my household with COVOD-19 whom I am not related to. Am I still eligible?
Yes if the household is impacted by any of the eligibility reasons then these funds can be accessed