Struggling to pay utility bills? These groups are offering assistance to keep Texans connected

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- For the first time since the pandemic started, utility companies can shut off services for customers behind on payments. A moratorium had protected people from that previously.

Now, local groups want people to know there is help available to keep them connected. There are a number of resources, but they come along with some requirements as well.

People all across the state started getting disconnection notices about 10 days ago. The notices gave them two options -- they could get a deferred payment plan with their utility company or register for financial assistance.

SEE ALSO: From rental relief to food assistance, how you can get help in Houston and surrounding areas

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs funnels state money to a number of groups that assist people, including BakerRipley. They can help anyone in Brazoria, Harris, or Galveston counties who can prove legal citizenship or residency and meet certain federal financial guidelines.

Desiree Davis, the utility assistance director, said the need in our region outweighs the resources, but they are trying to keep as many people connected as possible.

"We do have other unrestricted dollars coming in from various utility vendors that can assist families... The best thing to do if you think you may be over $100 or $200 of the guidelines is to apply. There are additional resources available for households," Davis said.

SEE ALSO: Houston rent relief: There's still $100M available, but applications are starting to die down

The form to apply is on BakerRipley's website.

The Public Utilities Commission also sent the following statement about the possible disconnections:

"There are significant resources available to utility customers who are at behind on their payments and at risk of disconnection. We encourage them to do two things right away: 1) contact their electricity or water provider to request a deferred payment plan then 2) visit to register for financial assistance. The help is available."
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