October Connections Newsletter

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UTC Connections

October 2018

Saving Money This Winter

As winter nears, temperatures are dropping. Check the exterior of your home to identify places where the cold may creep in. Problem areas are commonly found along foundations, where walls meet, and where pipes or conduits enter your home. Close up any cracks with caulk or another type of weatherproofing material.

Doors and windows also play an important role in keeping your home energy efficient. Use weather stripping below doors, and seal gaps between your window frames and walls with clear sealing tape. This alone can save you significant money on your heating bill.

The fall is the perfect time to service your furnace or heat pump. Changing filters and making sure everything is working efficiently can save you money in the long run. 

Learn more about weatherizing from the U.S. Department of Energy 

Finally, if you are worried about the costs of your heating bill, check out the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as LIHEAP.

LIHEAP started accepting applications for heating assistance on Oct. 1. Apply soon, as funds are given on a first come, first served basis. For information about the program and how to apply, visit the Department of Commerce website.

Community Solar Consumer Protection


On Oct. 2, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission adopted rules governing community solar companies to protect consumers in Washington.

These are companies, other than electric utilities, that own solar projects generating no more than 1 MW of electricity and providing electric and related services to more than one paying customer.

The rules establish requirements for company registration, consumer protection, records keeping, and reporting, using guidelines similar to the commission’s requirements for other regulated industries.

Before entering into a contract with a community solar company, consumers should confirm the company is registered by visiting the UTC’s website (www.utc.wa.gov/communitysolar), by calling 1-888-333-9882, or by emailing consumer@utc.wa.gov. Consumers should also read the Community Solar Consumer Guide available here.

Utility Scams

The Utilities and Transportation Commission urges Washington residents to be on alert for scams targeting residential and business utility customers.

Scammers fraudulently claim to be from a local utility company and threaten to shut off a customer’s service for a past-due bill. They then demand payment by wire transfer, a prepaid debit card, or some other irregular method.

The scam uses deceptive tactics to manipulate caller ID systems so the call appears to be coming from a utility or phone company when it is not.

Utility and phone company customers should expect several communications from a company before a disconnection.

If a consumer receives a suspicious phone call, he or she should hang up immediately and call the utility or phone company directly.