Newcomer's Guide to Austin Utilities

What you need to know to establish new services

Austin, Texas city hall building

RoschetzkyIstockPhoto / Getty Images

Moving to Austin? Here are some useful services and their websites to get your services set up. 

City of Austin

Your first phone call should probably be to the City of Austin itself. The city provides electricity, water, and garbage pickup services for all residents, and it’s all included on a single bill. If you’re moving into a house, the city will provide a standard-size trash can and recycling container; however, if you’re a light or a heavy user of either service, you can request a smaller or larger can. The city charges less for the smaller receptacles to encourage residents to compost and use products with minimal packaging.

Texas Gas Service

There's only one option in Austin for natural gas service. The company is not locally based, so you may have to navigate through a series of choices on the phone before reaching the right person.

Cable/Internet

The cable/Internet category is evolving rapidly. Time-Warner Cable and AT&T Uverse offer cable TV and Internet services throughout the city. Google Fiber, Grande Communications, and DirecTV cover only parts of the city. 

Spectrum (formerly Time-Warner Cable)

Though Spectrum customer service is generally despised in Austin, Time-Warner Cable still retains a large chunk of the market share in central Texas.

AT&T U-verse

AT&T’s Internet service is generally reliable, but the cable TV service is prone to glitches such as temporarily frozen screens.

Grande Communications

As a smaller cable TV/Internet provider, Grande is willing to compete for your business and offer better prices. However, service is available only in limited areas, and customers report frequent Internet outages.

DirectTV

If you don’t mind the ugly satellite dish on your roof, the TV service is generally reliable. Thunderstorms generally don’t affect the signal, except during extremely heavy downpours. The company, now part of AT&T, does not provide Internet service over the satellite.

Google Fiber

Google Fiber generated huge excitement when it started signing people up for its ultra-high-speed Internet service in the spring of 2015. Even if it is available in your neighborhood, it may take up to three months to actually get the service installed. However, among those who've had the service now for about a year, there seems to be widespread satisfaction with it. The basic package offered is comparable in price to AT&T’s mid-level package but with 10 times the Internet speed.

Cell Phone

Verizon and AT&T are the dominant cell phone service providers in central Texas. There are dozens of other small and mid-size companies offering cell phone service. Read the fine print, though, and most of the bargain-basement companies actually have deals with the larger networks. If you’re on a tight budget, consider a prepaid plan from T-Mobile or Cricket Wireless

Money-Saving Tips

With the adoption of the Austin Resource Recovery Master Plan, the city set the ambitious goal of preventing 90 percent of discarded items from ending up in landfills by 2040. Here’s how you can help with the effort and save a little money in the process.

Smaller Trash Can

The city offers four sizes of trash cans, ranging from 96 gallons ($43.50 per month) to 24 gallons ($18.35 per month) as of November 2019. Using a smaller can doesn’t necessarily require making a major lifestyle change. If you review the guidelines for single-stream recycling, you may find that you’ve been throwing away items that are actually recyclable. Virtually every type of cardboard is now recyclable, from corrugated boxes to small medicine containers.

Free Paint

Made from paint collected at the city’s Household Hazardous Waste Facility, Austin Reblend is available in Texas Limestone (beige) and Balcones Canyonland (dark beige). Those are the only colors available, but what do you expect for free? The paint is also low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs). You can pick it up at 2514 Business Center Drive, Austin, TX 78744.

Was this page helpful?