On Friday, June 11, 2021, the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) announced that the current moratorium on electricity service disconnections for nonpayment will end next Friday, June 18, 2021. On February 21, 2021, the PUC ordered a moratorium on electricity service disconnections for nonpayment to help residential and small commercial consumers during the aftermath of Winter Storm Uri. With today’s PUC action, residential and small commercial consumers who still owe a balance on their electricity bill could start to receive electricity service disconnection notices.
The Office of Public Utility Counsel (OPUC) encourages residential and small commercial consumers to contact their Retail Electric Provider before June 29, 2021 to request a deferred payment plan, and if needed, request information about bill payment assistance programs offered by their provider, to help avoid potential disconnection of their electricity service for nonpayment. It is important to note that the PUC’s rules provide electricity disconnection protection during summer heat moratoriums.
Residential consumers who need help with paying their electricity bill should seek bill payment assistance from financial assistance programs offered by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) for eligible residential consumers at www.TexasRentRelief.com or by calling 1-833-989-7368 and applying for assistance through the Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) by entering their city or county of residence at https://www.tdhca.state.tx.us/texans.htm. In addition, many local community and nonprofit organizations also offer financial assistance for eligible residential consumers that can be accessed through 2-1-1 Services by dialing 2-1-1 or visiting www.211texas.org.
Besides lifting the moratorium on disconnections for electricity consumers, the PUC’s decision also lifts the disconnection moratoriums for nonpayment of water and wastewater bills for consumers of water and wastewater providers regulated by the PUC.
Today’s PUC decision does not apply to consumers served by a municipally owned utility, such as Austin Energy and CPS Energy, or an electric cooperative, such as Bluebonnet and Pedernales Electric Cooperative, which are outside the PUC’s jurisdiction and may have their own disconnection moratoriums in place.
Additional consumer tips for addressing electricity bill issues are available on OPUC’s website at https://opuc.texas.gov. Residential and small commercial consumers with additional questions may contact the Office of Public Utility Counsel at 1-877-839-0363 or firstname.lastname@example.org.