Austin City Council approved $10 million in emergency bill relief for customers experiencing financial difficulty as a result of Winter Storm Uri or COVID-19. The approved funding is effective immediately and is made possible through a combination of rate reductions, utility bill credits and a funding infusion to the Plus 1 – Customer Assistance Program from Austin Water and Austin Energy.
The Plus 1 – Customer Assistance Program, which increased funding levels in April 2020, today received an additional $5 million funding infusion from Austin Water and $5 million from Austin Energy. The Plus 1 program has helped nearly 16,000 individual households and provided more than $11.7 million in assistance to Austinites experiencing financial difficulty due to COVID-19, serious illness, recent job loss or other emergencies.
Austin City Council also approved a series of measures designed to avoid high utility bills as a result of last month’s extreme freezing temperatures. The bill relief is available to residential customers, effective immediately, and includes:
- Reductions to residential water rates, effective until April 26, to help mitigate high bills due to above normal water usage trends during February’s extreme weather event. Rate reductions include:
- Tier 2 – Capping the residential fixed fee at $3.55
- Tiers 3-5 – Reducing the residential volumetric rate to $0.01 per 1,000 gallons
- Temporary expansion of billing adjustment program for all retail customer classes (residential, commercial, multi-family and large volume customers)
- Wastewater Averaging Period will estimate wastewater bills using a historical water usage beginning on Feb. 14, instead of actual metered
- Waive the Emergency Water Shutoff fee of $31.25
- Temporarily suspend late fees beginning Feb. 12 for all residential customers
- Waive $20 initiation fee usually charged when service is transferred to a new residence for Austinites who had to relocate due to residence storm damage. This waiver is currently in effect for customers who started, stopped or relocated service beginning Feb.15 through April 3
- Apply a one-time $10 credit on electricity bills for all residential customers, which will appear on bills issued after March 19
City of Austin utility customers are encouraged to closely review their utility bills, log onto their account at COAUtilities.com, and to contact City of Austin Utilities at 512-494-9400 with any questions about their bills.