The United Way of Greater Houston was awarded a grant of $1.3 million to be used towards helping customers pay their utility bills. The grant came from Entergy Texas, the press release states, and will be used to give a one-time credit of $150 to customers that qualify. Customers can apply for the credit through the United Way of Greater Houston website starting September 27.
United Way President and CEO Amanda McMillian said the decision was made due to the number of Texans struggling with their utility bills.
“Our 211 Texas/United Way HELPLINE data shows that families are struggling to pay for increasing utility costs this summer and also dealing with rising prices of basic necessities. United Way of Greater Houston works every day to help our neighbors land on their feet and stay there, and connecting people with utility assistance through Entergy is a great way to further that mission,” McMillian said in the press release.
Entergy Texas pledged to fund $1.7 million in bill payment assistance, and the recent grant is part of that pledge. There are 27 counties and over 486,000 customers in the state who get electricity through Entergy Texas, according to the press release.
Eliecer “Eli” Viamontes, the CEO and President of Entergy Texas, stated that utility bills have increased due to the rising cost of natural gas.
“While we can’t control many of the factors contributing to high bills, we can provide meaningful solutions,” Viamontes said in the press release. “United Way shares our mission of improving lives, so we are thankful to partner with them to help bring financial relief to many families across Southeast Texas.”
Qualifying customers should have a household income of no more than $69,000 for a family of four. This is 250% of the federal poverty level, an Entergy Texas press release from September 19 shares.
“Temperatures are up, the cost of natural gas is up, so Entergy Texas is ramping up our bill assistance efforts to ensure customers continue to have access to affordable power. By listening to our customers and staying engaged with our communities, we can provide meaningful solutions to Texas families in need of extra help,” Viamontes said.
The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs took steps to help struggling Texans in July, The Dallas Express previously reported. TDHCA created the Texas Utility Help program to help low-income residents across the state.
Applicants could ask for help with water, wastewater, electric, propane, and gas bills. Households must be at or below 150% of the federal poverty line to apply for the Texas Utility Help program.
The program had more than $50 million in funding when it first opened in July, The Dallas Express reported at the time. Funding was made available from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and Low Income Household Water Assistance Program.
As of July 13, Texas Utility Help stopped accepting applications for electric bill assistance due to an overwhelming number of applicants. Utility assistance is still available for wastewater and water bill payments.