Utility service disconnection notices resume July 14 in Austin — where to find help

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — On July 14, the City of Austin Utilities will start standard operations around non-payment, including service disconnections.

This comes as the city continues to help neighbors impacted by Winter Storm Uri and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kelly Bell is one of the thousands of Austin Energy customers falling behind on utility bills.

“It’s hard to catch up, because I got laid off and it’s been hard to get a job,” Bell said.

She saved her money and started driving for Favor and Lyft but said it’s still been difficult since the pandemic and the winter storm.

According to Austin Energy:

  • As of June 30: $28 million is outstanding more than 30 days
  • 8% of residential customers are at least 30 days behind on their bills (Austin Energy bills 528,000 accounts per month)
  • The 8% = 44,000 residential customers
  • Average past due amount: $494

Austin Energy says if someone gets a disconnection notice on July 14, it is not too late to ask for a payment option.

“The city utility has ramped up efforts for after COVID and (winter storm) Uri, so the utility bill relief is available throughout the year,” said Richard Castillo, Interim Director, Payment Services Management at Austin Energy.

Austin Energy has about 55 community partners to help provide those payment plan options.

“It could be an extended period of time to pay the bill, that plus additional options… which could be… assistance with funds,” Castillo said.

Since April 2020, Austin Energy has provided $16.9 million in assistance to 27,000 customers – an average of $625 per person.

To learn more about payment options, visit coautilities.com/go/paymentoptions or contact the City at 512-494-9400.

The Utility Contact Center’s hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

To apply for financial assistance, begin the application process online at austinbillhelp.com.

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