Late fees for Austin utility bills to be waived to help residents affected by outages

Austin City Council approved two ordinances to help residents make needed repairs safely and quickly following the winter storm last week.

The ordinances, in effect through March 31, waive permitting and development fees, as well as some permitting and registration requirements, for work on single and multi-family homes that were damaged as a result of winter weather from Jan. 31 through Feb. 2. 

They also are waiving late-payment fees for City of Austin utility bills with due dates between Jan. 31 - Feb. 17 to help residents affected by outages, storm cleanup and postal delays. 

The first ordinance waives permitting and development fees for structural repairs and tree removal associated with the winter storm. The waiver applies to plan reviews, inspections, demolitions and variances, but not to re-inspections when repairs do not comply with Code requirements and fail initial inspections. The ordinance also waives late fees for City of Austin utility bills with due dates between Jan. 31 and Feb. 17. 

The second ordinance allows the Building Official to exempt some electrical work from permit requirements, extends the deadline for some permit applications, and waives a City of Austin registration requirement for electricians who are licensed to work in Texas. 

For other structural repairs that relate to the winter storm, the deadline to apply for a retroactive permit has been extended to five days after work begins. When seeking a permit after work begins, applicants should note "2023 Winter Weather Event" on the application. 

As part of recovery efforts, inspectors are available for electrical and plumbing emergency repairs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Residents should call 512-974-2030 for electrical inspections and 512-974-1250 for plumbing inspections. Please leave a message if the inspector does not respond immediately. As a reminder, all plumbing and electrical work must still be performed by licensed contractors. 

The Development Services Department’s (DSD) Permits for Emergency Repairs webpage offers additional information about emergency repairs and permitting. Austinites who have questions about emergency repairs can contact Austin 3-1-1 anytime, DSD’s emergency repairs hotline at 512-974-1500, Monday – Friday, 7:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., visit the Permitting and Development Center (6310 Wilhelmina Delco Dr.) or utilize the chat feature at