Public Utility Commission lifts moratorium on utility disconnections in Texas

The moratorium that halted utility cutoffs for non-payment ends Friday.

The cutoff notices will begin hitting mailboxes right as the hottest weather of the year begins. 

People will start receiving disconnect notices in the mail the same week Governor Greg Abbott is ending the additional $300 in federal unemployment benefits. 

Non-profits are preparing for a huge increase in need.

"Like many non-profits, we are really worried. It is not that we don't want to help, but under a lot of pressure," said Samanda Gronstal, with the Community Council of Dallas.

Gronstal added that the end of the moratorium on electricity and water cut-offs comes at a difficult time, the start of summer, coupled with the end of federal unemployment assistance in Texas.

"Seeing more and more people just making it with unemployment, but now not getting it, they're panicking," she said. 

On top of that, kids are out of school and many summer camps are now full. 

"It's not that they don't want to work, but some are single parents, and right now, a lot of child care centers don't have the space," Gronstal said.

The Public Utilities Commission said ending the cut-off moratorium was not an easy decision, but necessary to allow electricity, water, and sewer providers to cover their expenses.

The moratorium went into effect after the February snowstorm. 

A similar one was in place last year due to the pandemic. 

"Stability is one of the most important thing in life. If we’re not stable, moving forward is difficult to do. We need stability to better our self and make progress," DeShaun Harris said.

Harris knows how easy it is to fall into homelessness when people lose stability. 

He once was homeless, but this time, after he lost his job in December, the Community Council of Dallas helped him receive training to become a forklift operator. 

"To know I don't have to go back through that, standing on my own two feet, people who want me to do better, huge blessing," he said.

Gronstal wants people to know that the Community Council of Dallas is there to help provide utility, rental, and mortgage assistance to those in Dallas County, as well as job skills training, like it did for Harris. 

"You can imagine, with so many needing assistance, we have been getting a lot of calls so we are developing another waitlist," she said.

Click here for more information on getting help from the Community Council of Dallas.

Click here tips from the Public Utilities Commission.