Last Updated on April 7, 2021 by Mary Pressler
How to Get Help Paying for Your Electric Bill: Low Income Assistance in Texas
Do you need help paying your electric bill? CEAP, or Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program, was created to provide relief to low income households in Texas. In this article, Quick Electricity explains who is eligible to receive benefits from CEAP, and how to apply for aid.
Overview of the Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program in Texas
The Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) helps low-income households in Texas that are struggling with energy expenses, including electricity and gas bills. The program offers direct financial assistance, complemented with energy workshops and financial education. The CEAP is managed by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, and funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Crisis assistance is also available under the CEAP, and it applies for households that are especially vulnerable to energy supply interruptions and extreme weather. For example, crisis assistance applies a household faces an imminent electric service interruption, and someone living there relies on an electric life support device.
Crisis assistance is available up to two times per year, and normal assistance up to six times per year. However, normal assistance may be provided up to eight times if the household has vulnerable members such as young children and seniors.
If there are household members who are already getting assistance from programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), their household may get automatic qualification under the CEAP.
Who Is Eligible for Utility Assistance Through the CEAP?
As of 2018, a household must have an income below 150% of the Federal Poverty Guideline to qualify for the CEAP. The income threshold is determined based on the number of persons living in the household, as indicated in the following table:
|# of Persons||CEAP Income Threshold|
In cases where there are more than 8 persons, the income threshold is increased by $6,480 per person. For example, the income limit in a 10-person home would be $76,530.
Although any household below the income threshold may submit an application, priority is given to elderly persons, children up to age 5, and individuals suffering from disabilities. These persons are the most vulnerable to utility service interruptions.
It is also important to note that CEAP financial assistance is not exclusive for electricity bill payments, also covering propane and natural gas bills. Depending on the needs of each household, funds may also be provided for heating and cooling equipment replacements or reparations. The program also offers non-monetary assistance such as energy efficiency workshops and financial counseling.
Apply for Help with Your Electric Bill
There are four main ways to contact the program and start the application procedure:
What Documentation Is Required for CEAP Application?
It is important to note that CEAP benefits are exclusively for Texas residents, and the following documentation is required:
- US Citizenship or Residency Proof
- Texas ID or Driver License
- Names, birth dates and education level of all household members.
- Income proof for the last 30 days, for all household members at least 18 years old.
- The most recent electricity bill.
- If the applicants have been with the same electric company for 12 months, the billing history and energy consumption records are also required, including monthly consumption values in kilowatt-hours (kWh)
- Social Security card for all household members.
- Any proof of social benefits received, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Child Support.
Although the CEAP provides utility assistance, power bills can also be reduced by selecting favorable electricity plans from Quick Electricity. Note that variable rate and market rate plans change the kilowatt-hour price periodically, and you may face sharp energy rate increases in summer, precisely when more electricity is needed for air conditioning. Fixed-rate electricity plans protect you from tariff increases, and you only pay more if your consumption increases. Also, prepaid electricity is a great alternative to a monthly electric bill and Quick Electricity offers same day prepaid lights by calling (877) 509-8946.
It is important to note that CEAP assistance depends on the availability of funds, so the best recommendation for eligible households is to act fast. Meeting the program requirements does not guarantee immediate assistance – it may be necessary to wait for new funding.
UPDATE: How to Get Help With Your Electric Bill During the Covid-19 Crisis
On March 26th, 2020, the Texas PUC responded to the Covid-19 developments by approving an order to protect Texans living in energy deregulated areas of the state.
The commission has quickly worked together with utility companies, retail electric providers and state leaders to formulate a plan to keep the lights on in Texas.
Throughout this time of uncertainty in our country and state, a 6 month order of protection against disconnections and shut-offs has been established.
If you are experiencing financial hardships due to loss of work, illness, or basic needs, your power will not be shut off for non-payment if you apply for relief.
Emergency Electricity in Texas
If you live in Texas and you need electricity today, please call us at 877-509-8946 so we can assist you.