Utility Shutoffs and Assistance

Posted on: July 9, 2020

Updated July 9, 2020.

Can my utilities be cut off?

Yes. If you are behind on your payments, your utilities may be disconnected. You should try to work out a payment plan with your utilities provider and get any payment plan in writing. Once you are able to, be sure to pay your utility bills on time to avoid a disruption in service.

If you live outside of Baton Rouge or New Orleans, your utilities can be cut off for nonpayment beginning July 16. New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and publicly owned utilities (such as many water systems) make their own rules.

If you are behind on your utility bills, your provider should be contacting you to establish a reasonable repayment plan. Please note, if your utilities provider is unable to get in contact with you, you will still be responsible for the past-due amount and your utilities may still be disconnected.

Your utilities provider cannot charge you late fees or interest for bills that were unpaid from March 20, 2020 through July 16, 2020. Your provider is also prohibited from making negative credit reports for these unpaid balances.

If you live in New Orleans, your water can be cut off for nonpayment beginning July 20 and your power can be cut off for nonpayment beginning August 1. Please note that the measures listed above, particularly about late fees, interest, and negative credit reporting, have not been established for New Orleans at this time.

I cannot pay my utility bills because I lost income during the Covid-19 crisis. What can I do?

You may be eligible for bill payment assistance through the federally-funded program, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), or other local programs.

Eligibility is based on your household income and you will need to provide:

  • Recent copies of your utility bills
  • The last four consecutive copies of check stubs for employed household members
  • Proof of unearned income (Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, Pension Funds, Disability, etc.)
  • Disconnect notice (if you received a shut-off notice from your energy company)
  • Proof of present address (rent receipt, lease or deed, etc.)
  • Driver’s license or picture ID of head of household and (his/ her) Social Security card
  • Proof of total members living in your household and their Social Security cards
  • Additional information may be required

Assistance is not guaranteed. More information on the program, including where to apply, can be found here.

Additional assistance may also be available through this program for those who are experiencing difficulty paying their utility bills due to Covid-19. Eligible applicants will receive a $600 benefit for their heating and cooling bills.

To apply, contact your local community action agency. You can find a list of local agencies here. You will also need to provide:

  • A copy of your heating and cooling bills for one month (not older than six months)
  • Last four consecutive copies of check stubs for employed household members
  • Proof of unearned income (Social Security, unemployment insurance, pension funds, disability, etc.)
  • Proof of present address (rent receipt, lease or deed, etc.)
  • Driver’s license or picture ID of the head of household and Social Security card
  • Proof of total members living in your household and their Social Security cards

If you live in New Orleans and became unemployed after March 16, 2020, you may be eligible for payment assistance for your Entergy bill through the City Council Cares (CCC) Program. You must be an Entergy New Orleans residential customer.

Applicants that are approved for the CCC credit will receive a $100 per month credit for 4 months on their Entergy New Orleans bill for a total credit of $400.

You may be eligible for assistance if you:

  • Are an Entergy New Orleans customer
  • Have an active Entergy New Orleans electric or electric and gas combination account
  • Have proof of unemployment benefits, as provided by the Louisiana Workforce Commission *The address on your benefits must match the address on the Entergy New Orleans account service address and the benefit document must be dated March 16, 2020 or after.

You can apply for the New Orleans assistance by texting “CCC” to 69516, calling (504) 493-7004, or by applying online here.

Assistance is not guaranteed and will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis.

New Orleans residents may also be able to set up a repayment plan for their unpaid water bills with the Sewerage and Water Board by calling 504-529-2837. You can find more information on the Customer Care Pay Plan here.

Information on other bill assistance programs for New Orleans residents can be found at https://ready.nola.gov/incident/coronavirus/assistance/#bills.

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