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Energy Assistance Programs
 
Keep the Heat On

How do you manage your energy bills? Cooler temperatures lead to higher energy bills, and the commission wants to make sure no one is left out in the cold. If you are facing unmanageable bills this winter, here are some options that will help keep the heat on.

Payment arrangements - Call your company directly and offer to make payments that you can keep. The company can disconnect service for unfulfilled payment arrangements, so make sure you are able to pay on time. To avoid any confusion later, ask the company to send a confirmation letter on the arrangements.

Budget Billing - This makes budgeting for power bills easier because you know the exact amount due each month. The company averages the cost of the energy used the previous year and from that assigns a set payment for the upcoming year. Budget payment amounts are reviewed every four months and adjusted according to how much gas or electricity you are using. The payment plan will automatically be adjusted at the end of the twelve-month budget period so that you pay only for the energy used. Budget Billing is available anytime of the year with no income restrictions. Call your company for more information.

Energy Assistance – Funding is available to help low-income customers pay expensive heating bills during the winter. Customers may have to meet certain income or age eligibility criteria to receive assistance.

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program works through Community Action Program agencies provide direct heating bill assistance using federal grants and eligibility criteria. For a complete list of assistance programs in the state, click here.

For more energy assistance resources in your area, dial 2-1-1 from any phone.

Company Programs - Click on your company below to see what options they offer.
Avista
Cascade Natural Gas
Northwest Natural Gas
Pacific Power
Puget Sound Energy

Moratorium – This is an emergency measure that enables low-income individuals who have exhausted all other alternatives to keep their heat on during the winter months - from Nov. 15 through March 15 - making payments of 7 percent the households monthly income. Prior to March 15, the customer must make arrangements on the winter bill,with the entire balance paid off by Oct. 15. If the payment arrangements under this program are not kept, the company can disconnect a customer’s electricity and refuse to reconnect until the entire balance owed to the utility is paid.

Need Help? Call the Commission!
Commission staff are always ready to answer your questions about regulated companies. Try to resolve your complaint with the company first, ask to speak to a supervisor if necessary. If you have an unresolved dispute with your energy company, call the commission! We will work with the company to help resolve your dispute.

To file a complaint with the commission:
Fill out the on-line complaint form; or
Call the Consumer Protection Help Line at 1-888-333-WUTC (9882); or
E-mail consumer@utc.wa.gov.

 

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