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, says the city.
The Plus 1 Program 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, says the city.
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 reducing residential water rates until April 26. 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
The billing adjustment program will also temporarily be expanding for all retail customer classes, including residential, commercial, multi-family, and large volume customers.
Wastewater bills will be estimated using historical water usage beginning on Feb. 14, instead of actual metered usage. The Emergency Water Shutoff fee of $31.25 will be waived, and late fees will be temporarily suspended beginning on Feb. 12 for all residential customers. Initiation fees have also been waived for customers who started, stopped, or relocated their services beginning on Feb. 15 through April 3.
The council also approved the application of 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 contact City of Austin Utilities at 512-494-9400 with any questions about their bills.