EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) announced it has an additional $48 million to help homeowners and renters who need help paying their energy bills.

The money is from the Federal Infrastructure and Investment Jobs  Act.

Through Texas Utility Help, homeowners and renters can pay off total past due utility bills for electricity, natural gas, propane, water and wastewater, plus get up to $2,400 in prospective payments. All approved payments are issued directly to the utility company on the applicant’s behalf.

Applicants must meet the following criteria to qualify:

  • Household income must be at or below 150 percent of Federal Poverty Income Guidelines.
  • At least one occupant in the household must be a United States citizen or “qualified alien.”

“The past year was hard on Texans, with rising food, housing and transportation costs and higher energy bills due to extreme heat over the summer. With the additional funds, we hope to ease some of the burden for as many renters and homeowners as possible,” said Bobby Wilkinson, TDHCA executive director. “We anticipate receiving more funding this year, although it’s unclear when or how much that will be, so we encourage everyone to apply now if they need help.”

Texas Utility Help also introduced a program change that adds future payments for water and wastewater assistance at $85 per month, through Sept. 30. Previously, water assistance was only available for past-due balances. Going forward, Texas Utility Help will send a payment to the approved applicant’s water and wastewater provider as one lump sum equal to:

  • The applicant’s past-due balance (if any) plus
  • $85 per month for future water and wastewater bills, through September 30, 2023.

TDHCA advises anyone who qualifies for water and wastewater assistance to apply as soon as possible in order to receive the maximum possible benefit.

To date, Texas Utility Help has distributed more than $28 million and assisted more than 13,350 households.

Funding for the program comes from the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and federal Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP).

For more information and questions, call 855-566-2057. Help is available in multiple languages.