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Get Help from Pacific Power Low Income Assistance Programs

Get Help from Pacific Power Low Income Assistance Programs

If you don’t know about these Pacific Power low income assistance programs, you’re probably paying too much on your bill! Low income customers throughout Pacific Power’s tri-state service area can get assistance with their utility bills through these programs.

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In this article, we’re going to break down all the things that you need to know about how to get help with your Pacific Power. We’re going to discuss state programs that can help, as well as local charities that can help pay your bill. We’ll also address any Pacific Power low income assistance programs and requirements as well.

Pacific Power Low Income Assistance Programs

Pacific Power offers slightly different low income assistance programs depending on your location, so the exact programs available to you will depend on what state you live in. I know these programs can be very confusing, so we’ll do our best to break it down as simply as possible.

Payment Arrangements

When I experienced my crazy $3,364 power bill, I learned firsthand that the first thing you need to do when you receive a bill you can’t pay is reach out to the company for bill payment assistance. This will usually be provided in the form of a payment arrangement but it can help you get some extra time while you seek other forms of assistance.

Pacific Power offers different forms of bill pay assistance depending on what would be most helpful to you.

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Due Date Extensions allow you to push back your due date by a few days or weeks. If your bill is due a few days or even a week before you’ll receive your next paycheck, they may be able to help you temporarily extend your due date to accommodate that payment.

Choose Your Due Date is a great choice for people who receive their paychecks or disability benefits on the same day every month. For example, since my household is only paid monthly, we always try to make sure our bills are due around the same time that we get paid. That way, we don’t get surprised by a random bill at the end of the month when we’re running out of money.

Time Payment Plan can give you up to 12 months to pay your past-due balance. The company basically divides the amount you currently owe by 12 to get a monthly payment plan amount. This amount is added to your bill every month. You won’t have to pay the past-due balance right away but you will have to be prepared for higher payments over the next year, so you’ll want to be careful if you choose this option.

Equal Time Payment Plan is a plan that keeps your bill consistent every month. Other companies refer to this as Budget Billing or Levelized Billing.

The concept is that they will add up all of your bills over the last 12 months to determine your annual usage. They’ll divide your annual use by 12 to figure out your monthly average. Then, you’ll just pay the average amount every month whether your usage is higher or lower than that.

This is a great way to make sure your bills is consistent but sometimes it can make things worse in the long run. For more information about that, you’ll want to read about how we ended up with a $3,364 power bill a few years ago.

In order to set up payment arrangements, you will need to use the Pacific Power website or speak to one of their customer service agents.

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Pacific Power Bill Discounts

One of the most underrated Pacific Power low income assistance programs is their discounts for eligible customers.

Medical Baseline Discount

If someone in your household has a medical condition that requires you to use additional energy, then you may be able to get a discount through the Medical Baseline Program. This discount works by giving your household a higher than normal baseline amount of energy.

As you may know, the company sets a “baseline” amount of usage that is billed at a lower rate and when customers exceed that amount of energy, any extra is charged at a higher rate. The Medical Baseline Program increases the baseline amount so that you can use more power at the lower rate.

In order to receive this discount, you need to have a qualified medical professional provide a written statement that shows a member of your household uses medical equipment (such as a CPAP or life support) on a regular basis or that your medical condition would be made worse if your utilities were shutoff.

California Low Income Discount

If you are a low income resident in California, you may be able to get 20% off your monthly bills through the California Alternative Rates for Energy (CARE) program.

You may qualify for CARE if you or any member of your household participates in any of the following programs:

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  • General Assistance from the Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • Head Start Income Eligible (Tribal Only)
  • Healthy Families A&B
  • LIHEAP
  • Medicaid or Medi-Cal
  • NSLP
  • SSI
  • SNAP / Food Stamps
  • TANF or Tribal TANF
  • WIC

You may be eligible even if you don’t participate in one of those programs as long as your household income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

Once you are approved for the program, you’ll have to reapply every two years to keep it. If you are on a fixed income, you only have to reapply once every four years.

Oregon Low Income Discount

Low income customers in Oregon can receive a discount if they have a gross annual household income that is at or below 60% of the state median income for their household size. In 2023, that means your annual gross income must be at or below $31,266 for a single person, $40,886 for a couple, or $60,126 for a family of four. In order to get this discount, you will need to apply for the Oregon Low Income Discount (LID) on this website.

Washington Low Income Discount

Washington customers may be eligible for a discount through the Low Income Bill Assistance (LIBA) program. This program provides a discount on your bill every month. The discount ranges from 15% to 70% depending on your income.

  • If your income is between 0-75% of the Federal Poverty Guideline for your household size, you will get a 70% discount on your bill.
  • If your income is between 76-100% of the Federal Poverty Guideline for your household size, you will receive a 35% discount.
  • If your income is between 101-200% of the Federal Poverty Guideline (or 80% of the AMI), then you will get a 15% discount.

You will need to apply every year unless you are on a fixed income, in which case you will need to apply every two years. You have to apply through your local agency.

  • Blue Mountain Action Council serves Columbia, Garfield, and Walla Walla Counties.
  • Northwest Community Action Center serves Yakima South.
  • Opportunities Industrialization Center of Washington serves Yakima North.

Pacific Power Low Income Assistance Programs

Pacific Power works with local nonprofit agencies to provide financial assistance when your bills are too high. The funds for these programs are donated by the company, their employees, and other customers who choose to donate. For example, Pacific Power provides a 2-to-1 dollar match for every donation that customers make to the Oregon Energy Fund.

Here’s a list of Pacific Power low income assistance programs by state:

California customers should contact Project HELP for assistance. This program is administered by Salvation Army offices across the service area. You’ll need to contact your closest Salvation Army office for assistance.

Oregon customers should contact the Oregon Energy Fund for assistance. This fund provides help if your income is 70% or less of the state median income. This means that this program may help you even if you aren’t eligible for the Oregon Low Income Discount (LID) described above. In order to get help from this fund, you will need to visit the Oregon Energy Fund website, click the big red “get help now” button, and then enter your zip code to find your local office.

Washington customers should reach out to Project HELP. This fund is managed by The Salvation Army in Grandview, Wallla Walla and Yakima. If you live in the Lower Yakima Valley, you should contact the Northwest Community Action Center for assistance.

Stop Disconnection

There are several ways that you can stop Pacific Power from disconnecting your utilities, even if you are struggling to pay your bills.

The first and easiest way is to set up payment arrangements. Tell the company that you are having a hard time and that you are looking for financial assistance. Often, this is enough to give you some extra time before the company disconnects your utilities.

Another and more lasting way to avoid disconnection is to file a medical certificate. If someone who lives in your home has a serious medical problem that would be worsened if your utilities were shut off, then you may be able to avoid disconnection. You will need to get a medical certificate from your doctor that explains the diagnosis and how it would be adversely affected if your utilities were disconnected. When you submit that certificate to Pacific Power, they will work with you to help you set up payment arrangements without disconnection.

Government Utility Assistance

There are many different government programs that can also help you with your energy bills. If you are a low income American, make sure that you look into the following programs.

Some states have other government utility assistance programs.

  • Oregon Energy Assistance Program (OEAP) provides financial assistance to low income households who are at risk of disconnection.

For these government assistance programs, you will need to contact your local Community Action Agency. These agencies are located across the country and administer many low income programs.

Get Help Paying Your Bill

If you’ve received help from these Pacific Power low income assistance programs and you still need help, there are many local churches, charities and assistance programs that can help you. Because these organizations aren’t limited to Pacific Power customers, you’ll need to check out our Oregon Energy Assistance list for details.

About Pacific Power

Pacific Power is a utility company that serves over 800,000 customers in almost 250 communities along the West Coast. As their name suggests, they serve the Pacific Coast states of Washington, Oregon and California.

In addition to providing utility services, Pacific Power also manages recreation facilities near their hydroelectric projects as well.

Summary

Utility customers in Washington, Oregon or California who want to save money on their bills need to know about these Pacific Power low income assistance programs. In addition to state programs like LIHEAP and WAP, the company itself also offers a wide range of options to help you save money on your utility bill. This article explained what you need to do get help from all of these programs.