electric bill

What to Do If You Can’t Pay Your Electric Bill in Texas

Need help paying your electric bill in Texas? It’s a common problem, but the good news is there are options available to help. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what you can do if you can’t pay your electric bill, including payment plans, energy assistance programs, non-profit and charity programs, and tips for keeping your bill low. Keep reading to find out how to get back on track with your electric bill payments.

Key Takeaways

  • To manage energy bills in Texas, it’s essential to understand your electricity  options, including payment plans, energy assistance programs, and weatherization programs.
  • Contact your provider to discuss payment extension or installment plans if you cannot pay your electricity bill. Negotiate a payment plan that works for your budget and get the agreement in writing.
  • Seek help from nonprofit organizations and charities that offer financial assistance with energy bills in Texas, such as Texas Utility Help, the Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program, and Catholic Charities Dallas and Fort Worth.
  • To keep your energy bill low, keep windows closed when heating or cooling, turn off lights when you leave a room, unplug unused appliances, and keep tabs on appliances that use the most energy.

Understand Your Options

In many areas, energy bills can be a significant expense. For low-income-eligible families, the cost can be particularly burdensome. Fortunately, benefit programs are available to help families manage these costs and stay safe and healthy. For example:

  • Payment plans offered by energy providers
  • Energy and financial assistance programs at the state or local level
  • Non-profit organizations that offer utility assistance and human services
  • Government assistance programs for low-income households
  • Weatherization programs that can help make homes more energy-efficient
  • Grants or loans for home repairs or upgrades that improve energy efficiency

Of these, one of the best programs is the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This federally funded program assists with energy crises, weatherization, and minor energy-related home repairs. By taking advantage of programs like LIHEAP, families can free up resources for other expenses and ensure they can stay comfortable and secure in their homes.

Contact Your Electricity Provider

Suppose you can’t pay your electricity bill. In that case, one of the first steps you should take is to contact your electricity provider. Many providers offer payment extensions or installment plans to help customers manage their monthly bills. 

When you call your provider, explain your situation and ask what options may be available. You might be able to negotiate a payment plan that works for your budget and helps you avoid disconnection. When dealing with your electricity provider, it’s important to remember that both you and the provider want a solution that works for everyone. 

Here are some tips for negotiating a payment plan:

  1. Explain your situation: Start by explaining your financial situation and why you’re struggling to pay your bill. Be honest about your income, expenses, and any extenuating circumstances making it difficult to manage your bills.
  2. Offer a solution: Based on your financial situation, suggest a payment plan that you can realistically afford. For example, you can pay a portion of your bill now and the rest in installments over the next few months.
  3. Be willing to compromise: Your provider may have a payment plan option that they typically offer to customers in your situation. Be open to this option and willing to make adjustments to ensure you can meet the payment plan requirements.
  4. Get the agreement in writing: Once you and your provider have agreed on a payment plan, get the deal in writing. This can help prevent any misunderstandings in the future and ensure that both you and the provider are on the same page.

Remember that your electricity provider wants to keep you as a customer and is often willing to work with you to find a payment plan that suits your budget. By being honest and proactive, you can find a solution that helps you manage your energy bills and avoid disconnection.

Seek Help From Nonprofits and Charities

Several nonprofit organizations and charities offer financial assistance to eligible households. Here are some options to consider:

  • Texas Utility Help: This program financially assists qualified Texas homeowners and low-income renters. Eligible expenses include electricity, gas, propane, water, and wastewater. Fill out the application linked on the organization’s homepage to apply for assistance.
  • Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program: This program offers help with bills, repairs to broken A/C units, replacement of A/C units, and more. To find a local provider, visit the organization’s website.
  • Catholic Charities Dallas: This organization offers financial assistance to help with energy bills. Complete the Financial Assistance Form to apply for service on their website.
  • Catholic Charities Fort Worth: This organization also offers financial assistance to help with energy bills. Just fill out the Financial Assistance Form on their website to apply for help.
  • Network of Community Ministries: This non-profit offers various services, including assistance with energy bills. To get help, fill out the “Get Help” assistance forms on their website.
  • TXU Energy Aid: This utility company offers electricity bill help to Texas families in need. To learn more about this program, click the previous link or call 2-1-1 and ask for assistance in your community.

By taking advantage of these resources, you can find the help you need to manage your energy bills and stay connected to essential services.

Tips for Keeping Your Bill Low

Keep windows closed

An easy way to reduce energy usage is to keep your windows closed when your heating or cooling system is running. This helps prevent hot or cold air from escaping and keeps your home at a more consistent temperature.

Turn lights off

Turning off lights when you leave a room can help reduce your energy usage and save you money on your bill. Consider installing motion-sensor lights in areas where you may forget to shut off lights, such as hallways or bathrooms.

Unplug unused appliances

Appliances and electronics can still use energy if plugged in, even when not in use. Unplugging appliances when you’re not using them can help reduce your energy costs and save you money.

Keep tabs on appliances that use the most energy

Certain appliances, like air conditioners, refrigerators, and water heaters, use more energy than others. Keeping tabs on these appliances and ensuring they’re running efficiently can help reduce your energy usage and save you money on your bill.