Need utility assistance in Washington? You’re not alone. I’ve been there before – and so have many of our readers.
When we lived in Washington, we were once shocked by a $3,364 power bill from Puget Sound Energy! Fortunately, we knew where to go for help… and we ended up with thousands of dollars in pledges and more than $18,000 in free home improvements!
That’s why I’ve assembled this list. I know that too many people are struggling with high power bills and have no idea where to turn. If you need help with your power bill in Washington State, we’ll show you everything you need to know.
How to Use this List
We’ve found many utility assistance programs across Washington. Some of the best programs come from the utility providers themselves or from some of the local churches and other organizations that help with utility bills.
In order to make this list as useful to you as possible, we will start with some of the large state programs and then move into the specific local resources you can try. When you need help, try them all! When we had our insane $3k power bill, we received pledges from multiple sources.
Statewide Utility Assistance Programs
If you are low income and having a hard time paying your utilities, you may qualify for help from many sources. These are the statewide “first steps” that we recommend to anyone who is looking for utility assistance in WA.
LIHEAP stands for “Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.” This federal program provides funds to help low income Washingtonians afford and maintain their utilities throughout the winter.
This program will pay a one-time grant to your energy provider. You can get one LIHEAP grant per household per year (Oct – Sept). When we received assistance, we received around $1,000 from this program. The amount you receive will depend on your household size, income, and annual heating costs.
You will need to apply with your local county agency.
If you qualify for LIHEAP, you may also qualify for Weatherization. This program doesn’t provide immediate cash assistance, but they can help reduce your future bills!
They lower your bills by improving the energy efficiency of your dwelling so that you don’t have to spend so much money on utilities. It really works! Along with our LIHEAP grant, we received around $18,000 in free home improvements that reduced our power bill from $650/month to around $150/month!
In order to qualify in Washington State, your income usually needs to be at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level.
You can apply for LIHEAP and Weatherization Services at your local county agency.
Community Action Council
In Washington, most counties have a Community Action Council. These organizations help coordinate LIHEAP and Weatherization Services, in addition to other programs. If you need help because you are dealing with a shut off, this is one of the best places you can start.
Salvation Army chapters often assist with shelter and utility costs. Contact your local Salvation Army to see if they offer utility assistance.
St. Vincent de Paul
In most areas, St. Vincent de Paul will also assist with emergency utility assistance in WA. However, you are typically required to meet income requirements and provide a shut-off notice. If you are facing a utility emergency, please contact your local St. Vincent de Paul right away.
Washington State has laws regarding utility disconnection. If your utility provider does not follow them, you may be able to follow up with Legal Aid for assistance. We’ve found a list of free and low-cost legal services in Washington State.
Local Utility Assistance in WA
As usual, the best discounts and money-saving secrets are specific to your local area. We’ve found that many utility providers in Washington State offer discounts, free stuff (like appliances) and more. We’ve also found many programs that can assist with power bills.
To see what’s available near you, please find your energy provider in the list below.
Avista has many programs to help low income customers. In addition to standard payment arrangements and budget billing plans, they also offer these programs:
- Discounts for low-income seniors and disabled customers who reside in Washington!
- Free Kill-a-Watt meters that can be checked out from your local library.
- Free furnace filter when you sign up for the Furnace Filter Replacement Program!
If you need help with your Avista Utilities bill, try these helpful utility assistance programs!
- Avista CARES provides options for elderly, disabled, or financially-challenged customers. Call them at (800) 277-9187.
- Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC) provides energy assistance to households in Adams, Grant, or Upper Yakima County.
- Rural Resources serves residents in Northeastern Washington with energy assistance programs.
- SNAP WA serves Spokane County residents. This organization can help you with LIHEAP, Weatherization, and accessing funds through Avista’s Senior/Disabled grant program ($100-$400 per year) or Project Share.
Benton PUD customers can also get utility assistance in WA! This provider offers many helpful discounts and programs, include payment arrangements and budget billing.
- Senior discounts, military discounts and veteran discounts of up to 25% off their monthly bills are available! The discounts are 10%, 15%, or 25% depending on your household income. You must have an income that is 225% or less of the Federal Poverty Level.
You can also get additional assistance with your Benton PUD bill from organizations in your local community.
- Helping Hands provides up to $225 toward your power bills, depending on your income. These funds are disbursed by Community Action Committee (CAC).
- The Veterans Assistance Fund can also assist with power bills. They can provide up to $1,328 toward your needs. For contact information, check this flyer.
Centralia City Light
Centralia City Light customers can also save money on their power bills with help from their provider.
- Senior discounts and disabled discounts are available! You can get the standard customer charge removed from your bill if you qualify. In October 2020, the customer service charge is $24.39 inside city limits or $26.79 outside city limits.
If you need help with your Centralia City Light bill, there are community agencies that can help.
- Community Action Council of Lewis, Mason and Thurston Counties can help you access LIHEAP funds, Weatherization services and more!
Clallam County PUD
We’ve found ways that you can save money on your Clallam County PUD bills! Here are some helpful options offered by the PUD itself:
- Deposit waivers for customers with a good credit score or good payment history on a prior PUD account.
- Budget Payment Plans that help you pay a consistent amount every month.
- Watt Detectors that can be checked out from the North Olympic Library System
- Neighborly Assistance is a help fund that is gathered by Clallam County PUD through donations.
You can also get help with your power bill from local community agencies.
- Clallam County Veterans Resource Center can provide help with utility costs for eligible veterans. According to Clallam PUD, this fund can provide up to $500/year with a maximum of $2,000 per lifetime. A shut-off notice is required.
- OlyCAP can help you with LIHEAP funds, weatherization and other services including “Pass-the-Buck” funds for Port Angeles residents and Ratepayer donations.
- Serenity House has a few programs that can assist with utility costs.
- Sequim Information and Assistance can help seniors who are at least 60 years old with their utility bills. However, this is a payer of last resort and therefore you must have exhausted all other options first.
- Tribal assistance programs are also available for tribal members who are living away from the tribal center.
Clark Public Utilities
Clark Public Utilities customers can get help with their utility bills! The company itself offers some of the best utility assistance programs in WA!
- Guarantee of Service Plan (GOSP) helps people who are behind on their utilities keep the power on. Through this program, Clark Public Utilities will help you determine a maximum monthly amount you can pay based on your income. You won’t be charged late fees and any remaining balance at the end of the program will be forgiven.
- Senior credits can help you offset your bill. This is available for low income seniors. If you qualify, you can receive a credit for a percentage of last year’s bills (up to $500)!
- Operation Warm Heart offers financial assistance to eligible customers who cannot afford their utility bills. Contact Clark Public Utilities for more information.
- Weatherization loans can help you improve the weatherization in your home and thereby reduce your monthly utility costs.
Cowlitz County PUD
Cowlitz County PUD offers many assistance programs for their low income customers!
- Discounted rates for low income seniors and disabled customers are available! You must be at least 62 years old or disabled to qualify.
- Free home energy audits can help you identify why your bills are so high and how you can save money every month!
- Warm Neighbor Emergency Assistance funds are available for low income customers who are unable to pay their bills.
You can also get help from community organizations, including:
- Lower Columbia Community Action Council offers help with utility costs.
Grays Harbor PUD
Grays Harbor PUD offers helpful programs for low income customers who need help with their utilities:
- Senior discounts are available for customers who are at least age 62 and meet income requirements.
- Disability discounts are available for low income customers who meet the requirements for a disability under the Social Security Act or receive L&I Pension.
You may also be able to get help from community organizations that offer energy assistance in WA.
- Coastal Community Action Program can help you obtain LIHEAP, Weatherization Services and funds from Project HELP. Project HELP gathers donations on monthly PUD bills, which are used to help other customers who can’t afford their bills.
If you need help with your Jefferson PUD bill, we’ve found help!
- Low Income Rate Reduction Program provides a $39.50 per month bill credit for electric customers that meet low income requirements. Customers who qualify can also receive a $10 credit on water charges and a 30% discount on sewer charges.
- Winter Moratorium Protections can prevent Jefferson PUD from shutting off your utilities between November 15th and March 15th. Here’s how it works.
You can also get help from these community providers:
- Rainy Day Fund is distributed by OlyCAP and St. Vincent de Paul. This fund may provide up to $500 toward your power bill if you have a shut off notice.
Inland Power customers can get utility assistance in WA as well! If you need help with your Inland Power bill, try these agencies:
- Blue Mountain Action Council helps Columbia and Garfield Counties.
- Community Action Center helps customers in Whitman County.
- Community Action Partnership helps those in Bonner County.
- Opportunities Industrialization Center helps households in Adams County.
- Rural Resources helps Lincoln and Stevens County.
- Spokane Neighborhood Action Program helps customers in Spokane County.
Lakeview Light and Power
There are energy assistance programs that can help Lakeview Light and Power customers!
- Bridges of Love helps with funding for certain needs.
- Pierce County Energy Assistance Program (EAP) can provide utility assistance for eligible applicants.
- Project Help is a program organized by Lakeview Light and Power. Customers who are able donate extra funds with their bill to help those can’t afford their bills.
- Salvation Army provides utility assistance programs.
- Sound Outreach is an organization that offers utility assistance through the WARM Fund Utility Assistance and Lakewood Utility Assistance programs.
Lewis County PUD
Customers of the Lewis County PUD can get utility assistance in WA!
- Deposit waivers are available when you have a recent positive payment history with a utility company.
- Energy audits can identify programs that you may qualify for.
The PUD also indicates that the following agencies can assist customers who cannot afford their Lewis County PUD bills:
- Community Action Council of Lewis, Mason and Thurston Counties
- Lewis County Veteran’s Fund can provide up to $750 for your utilities.
- Lewis-Mason-Thurston Area Agency on Aging
- Salvation Army
Mason County PUD 1
If you need help with your Mason County PUD 1 bill, try these resources!
- Community Action Council of Lewis, Mason & Thurston Counties
- Puget Sound Intertribal Planning Agency
Mason County PUD 3
Mason County PUD 3 is somewhat more generous than PUD 1 when it comes to helping their low income customers. They offer senior and disability discounts to eligible low income customers.
- Community Action Council of Lewis, Mason & Thurston Counties
- Veteran’s Assistance Fund of Mason County
McCleary City Power
Although the city doesn’t offer any direct assistance (according to Clerk-Treasurer Wendy Collins), you can still get assistance with your bills from the Coastal Community Action Program. You may also be able to get help from the Salvation Army and the Union Gospel Mission in Aberdeen.
Low income Okanogan PUD customers can get help from the Okanogan County CAC.
Pacific Power customers can get help from their local Community Action Council and the Salvation Army’s Project Help service. Sunnyside and Toppenish area customers are served by NCAC instead of Salvation Army.
Puget Sound Energy
Because we have so much experience with Puget Sound Energy, we have written an entire separate post about this provider. See how you can save money and get help with Puget Sound Energy here!
Seattle City Light (& Seattle Public Utilities)
Seattle City Light customers may qualify for a 60% discount on their bill if they meet low income limits. You can also save up to 50% off your water, sewer and garbage bills from Seattle Public Utilities.
Seattle also offers many assistance programs for low income customers.
- Emergency Low Income Assistance (ELIA) helps customers who have a 10-day notice and owe $250 or more. You can receive up to $200 from this program.
- Project Share is funded by customer donations. If you qualify for LIHEAP or EILA, you can also get up to $250 toward your bill from this program.
- HomeWise provides weatherization services like insulation and heating system replacement/repair.
Snohomish PUD offers a low income discount that can reduce your PUD electric and water bills by 25-50%! In some cases, you can also qualify for a low-interested Energy Smart Loan for home improvements.
Low income Tacoma Power customers have access to some incredible utility assistance in WA!
- Discount rates can reduce your bill by up to 30% for your electric, water, sewer and more if you are a senior (or disabled).
- Bill credits are offered to eligible low income households. Whenever you pay your bill in full and on time, you’ll get a credit to your account. You can earn up to $564 in credits per year!
- Winter Protection Plan drops your power bills to just 7% of your monthly income plus 1/12 of any unpaid charges during the months of November through March. This helps keep your heat on during the expensive winter months.
For additional help with your utilities, try these sources:
Didn’t see your power company listed?
Leave me a note in the comments below and we’ll add your company to our research list!