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City utilities, Texas Gas Service help customers

Wednesday, November 25, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Travis County Commissioners Court voted unanimously Tuesday to accept $100,000 from Texas Gas Service to help low-income county residents pay their gas bills. Commissioners did not discuss the donation, but a memo describing the program notes that TGS has provided funding every year since 2012. Spokesperson Larry Graham told the Austin Monitor that in past years the company has collected donations and matched those donations. Last year, he said customers donated about $37,000 and Texas Gas Service matched that amount. This year, the company is putting $100,000 into the fund. He said that donation was agreed to as part of the rate case that was concluded in August. Customers who need assistance paying their gas bills can sign up at one of Travis County’s Health and Human Services offices. The city is still helping low-income customers with their Austin Energy and Austin Water bills, with 14,000 customers receiving $7.4 million in utility bill relief in Fiscal Year 2020, according to Austin Energy spokeswoman Jennifer Herber. In FY 2019, the city’s utilities provided $2.3 million to 5,230 customers who participated in the program, she said. This spring, the energy and water utilities each added $5 million to help Covid-impacted customers, in addition to the $2.3 million already budgeted. Austinites may choose to donate to the Customer Assistance Program when they pay their utility bill.

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