Texas ROSE advocates for utilities to offer electric rate discounts, billing assistance programs, and free weatherization programs to low-income households. Texas ROSE provides no program services. Because of Texas ROSE’s advocacy, many utilities in Texas are required to meet minimum requirements for programs serving low-income customers. Texas ROSE also advocates for reforming the system benefit fund and increasing the availability of funding for emergency utility bill assistance. The most important program is weatherization because it a fixes the root cause of the inability to pay utility bills—old and energy-inefficient housing.
For customers in deregulated service areas, LITE-UP TEXAS (Low Income Telephone and Electric Utility Discounts) offers an electric bill rate discount, an exemption from late fees, and a rule that allows LITE-UP TEXAS customers to pay a security deposit in two installments. To qualify, household income must be at or below 125 percent of the federal poverty guideline or the customer must receive benefits from the Texas Department of Human Services. The majority of customers are enrolled automatically through a process that matches utility account records and records from the Department of Health and Human Services. Eligible customers not captured by the automatic enrollment process and can submit an application.
For information about the LITE-UP TEXAS Program, please call 1-866-454-8387 or visit the LITE-UP TEXAS section of the PUC website.
Other rate discounts are available for customers of El Paso Electric, Entergy Texas, and Austin Energy. Call your utility and ask if a rate discount is available and how you can apply.
Billing Assistance and Weatherization
Billing assistance programs help low-income customers by paying all or part of a past due bill. Weatherization provides energy efficiency improvements that reduce the amount of electricity needed to heat and cool your home. For information about these programs in your area, go to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA).
PUC rules require utilities to maintain information about bill payment assistance and energy efficiency programs. TDHCA is the state agency responsible for contracting with local agencies to provide billing assistance under the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the weatherization programs.
The U.S. Congress appropriates funds annually for both. LIHEAP and weatherization are not entitlement programs and access is limited by funding.
The Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) and weatherization programs are available in each of the 254 Texas counties.
For information about CEAP or weatherization, call toll free at (877) 399-8939 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The toll-free number will directly connect you with the CEAP or WAP service provider in your county, or go to the CEAP and WAP sections of the TDHCA website.
There is also a rate discount provided in deregulated service areas. A third party central administrator manages the LITE-UP rate discount program. Call toll free at 1-866-454-8387 or go to the PUC low-income assistance website.