El Paso Electric assistance programs.

Customers of El Paso Electric in Texas and New Mexico can apply for assistance for paying their utility and electricity bills. Several different financial assistance programs are offered, and the energy provide can also give referrals and other support to low income customers and the needy. Some of the primary El Paso programs offered include payment plans, Project Care, the federal government low income home energy assistance programs (LIHEAP), and others.

Payment arrangements may be offered in certain situations to qualified customers. Customers that are struggling and that have called El Paso Electric or that have notified them by a written notice sent to customer service may explore this option. Payment plans or arrangements are offered to qualified customers who have not been issued more than two disconnection notices in the last twelve months, who have properly notified the utility company and who meet other qualifications.

El Paso Payment Arrangement Plans are really temporary arrangements that were created to help deal with a financial crisis or short term hardship that a customer may be faced with. If you are successfully enrolled into a plan, your electric service will not be disconnected by El Paso if you follow the terms of the contract and program. This includes people need to pay their current monthly bill when due and they will also need to pay a calculated portion of the outstanding bill in agreed upon installments. This needs to be done until the outstanding energy bill is paid in full. The payment plan will usually last for up to 3 months.

Many of the recipients of payment plans include those people who receive Veteran's Administration benefits, social security, unemployment compensation or public assistance. The plan can be effective if it will be some time before those monthly checks start to arrive or if your income level has been reduced due to a hardship or illness. Each application is individually reviewed by El Paso. Documentation and proof of the hardship needs to be provided as well, such as medical reports and proof of income.




Some of the terms and obligations include, but are not limited to, you or a guarantor must sign a payment arrangement contract with El Paso Electric that will require the delinquent amount to be paid over time. Usually any outstanding arrearage on your accounts need to be paid over at least three monthly billing cycles. You will need to sign a contract, so review it closely. If you enter into the payment arrangement, and if you do not abide by it or do not fulfill the terms of the contract, the energy company will disconnect your service pursuant to established disconnection procedures that are in place with the states of Texas and/or New Mexico.

After entering into a plan, some customers may be faced with a new hardship or crisis. If this occurs, and if your financial or economic circumstances change substantially, El Paso may decide to renegotiate the contract. They will do this on their own, and will do their best to take into account your changed economic and financial circumstances. For more information about this service or to enter into a plan, please contact El Paso Electric Customer Services at 1-800-351-1621.

Project Care is another possibility for Texas and New Mexico customers. It was created in the 1980s, and funds and assistance can help customers with a financial emergency pay up to a month's electric bill. The program works and is paid for by customer donations and matching funds. For each dollar donated to Project Care by customers and employees, El Paso will match their donation dollar-for-dollar. Thousands of customers have received help with paying their bills over the years. Most of the funds from the program are used to help families who are unable to pay for their electricity due to serious and unexpected medical or financial problems. 1-800-592-1634

Financial assistance or cash grants may rarely be available for qualified low income families who need help with paying their bills. For information on direct financial assistance from programs such as LIHEAP and others, or if you are unable to pay your bill, call El Paso Electric at 1-800-351-1621. Or call a local community action agency nearest you for help and advice.

Low Income Rider Program from El Paso Electric may be offered for customers in Texas who have a total household income lower than certain government poverty guidelines, or who are currently signed up for a Lone Star Card. When someone is qualified, they may be able to receive up to a $60 a year savings on their monthly electric bills. The Public Utility Commission of Texas approved the Low Income Rider (LIR) program, and residential customers who qualify for the program will not be charged the $5 customer charge on their monthly electric bills by El Paso Electric.




Referrals are available to other New Mexico and Texas programs and agencies. Emergency funds and programs such as weatherization may be available through community action and social service agencies to help you pay your utility bills, save money from conservation, and help people prevent disconnections. One of the key programs that Texas and New Mexico families benefit from is the low income energy assistance program. El Paso Electric will provide customers with information to contact community agencies that determine eligibility for any government or non-profit assistance on a case-by-case basis. Call 1-800-351-1621.


By Jon McNamara

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