Utility Assistance

Next to the cost of rent or mortgage, utility costs have a large impact on family budgets and overall household stability.  

The Utility Assistance Program is designed to prevent utility disconnects and stabilize utility costs for low income households. Panhandle Community Services works with both public and private funds to pay the utility bills for qualifying residents. In addition, staff members provide families and individuals with educational information to help reduce their utility cost.

To receive utility assistance, the household must have an outstanding utility bill(s), live at the residence, and be at or below 150% of the current U. S. Poverty Guidelines.

The Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) is a program to help those who qualify with utility assistance. CEAP was designed to assist low income households or those with a financial emergency in paying their utilities. Panhandle Community Services (PCS) is the local agency that oversees the CEAP program which is funded by the federal government. This program is part of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). It helps keep families safe and healthy through initiatives that assist them with energy costs.

The state organization known as Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) sets many of the program guidelines, but PCS and other local agencies do have some flexibility in providing their services. Application intake, client services, income verification, and all administrative tasks are handled through PCS offices in Amarillo and other communities in the Panhandle. The primary goal of the CEAP program is to educate people on energy efficiency and provide funds to limit or stop the number of disconnections of service. This is achieved through paying heating and cooling bills for qualifying applicants. A crisis component of LIHEAP/CEAP can also provide utility payments when people are faced with imminent disconnection.



1. What is utility Assistance?

Panhandle Community Services uses both public and private funds to assist low income families that cannot pay their utility bills, particularly the elderly, disabled, and families with children under the age of six.

2. What are the qualifications for utility assistance?

To qualify for utility assistance, an individual or family must provide documentation that they are at or below 150% for the public funds and 200% for the private funds and have an outstanding utility bill.

3. How does one document their level of poverty?

Income can be documented with proof of income for the last 30 days: including but not limited to: pay stubs, award letters from the Social Security Administration, Veteran Administration, or any other governmental organization or pension fund.

4. How much does Panhandle Community pay toward the utility bill?

Panhandle Community Services can pay up to eight payments up to $1200 per year.

5. Can Panhandle Community Services help me if I have a disconnect notice from my utility company?

Yes. You may get up to $1200 per year toward your utility bill.

6. How will my bill get paid? 

Panhandle Community will make a pledge to your utility company within twenty-hour hours of your visit and send payment within twenty days.  

7. How do I get assistance with my utility bill(s)?

To get assistance, you must make an appointment by calling the 24-hour appointment scheduler at 1-855-459-3716 or schedule an appointment online. You will select the Panhandle Community Service Center near you. When you come to your appointment, please bring your utility bill(s) and documentation of income.  

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