AUSTIN, Texas – Winter heating season is approaching and many Texans need help paying large utility bills. The Texas Utility Help Program that opened in July to provide relief – and which quickly closed because of high demand – has reopened, though funding is limited and applicants are urged to apply quickly.
Qualified homeowners and renters can get help with total past due utility payments for electricity, natural gas and propane, plus up to $2,400 in prospective payments.
“Extreme heat during the summer months hit people especially hard this year, which was evidenced by the overwhelming initial interest in this program. We are glad we can open up energy assistance again and help even more people,” Bobby Wilkinson, the executive director of the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, said in a statement.
“While funds are limited, TDHCA is committed to helping as many households as possible gain a sense of stability and security for these basic needs,” Wilkinson said.
The application is open to renters, homeowners, and mobile homeowners. To qualify, household income must be at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level and at least one member of the household must be a U.S. citizen or qualified alien.
All approved utility payments are issued directly to the utility company on the applicant’s behalf.
According to the news release, more than $15 million has been distributed under Texas Utility Help, with more than 7,400 households assisted.
Contact Texas Utility Help online for assistance or reach the call center on Mondays through Fridays 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 855-566-2057. Help is available in multiple languages.
The relief money is not expected to last long. The program closed after one week when it originally opened in July.