UTC Connections Fall Edition

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November 2019

Saving Money This Winter

energy bill 2

As winter nears, temperatures are dropping. Your furnace may be working double time to keep your home comfortable, but there some measures you can take to keep your bills in check.

Examine 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.


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 represent local utility companies and threaten to shut off a service for a past-due bills. They then demand payment by wire transfer, a prepaid debit card, or other irregular methods.

The scammers uses deceptive tactics to manipulate caller ID systems so their calls falsely appear to come from a utility or phone companies.

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

If you receive a suspicious phone call, hang up immediately and call the utility or phone company directly.

The commission partners with Consumer Protection Washington to help educate consumers and protect them against scams. To have Consumer Protection Washington give a presentation to your local group and learn more, click here.

Contact the Commission

Have an issue with a regulated company? Contact the commission’s Consumer Protection representatives here.

CETA Updates

The commission has finalized its work plan to implement Washington’s new 100% clean electricity law.

The plan outlines the commission’s process and schedule for 19 rulemakings, workgroups, reports, and other proceedings required by E2SSB 5116, known as the Washington Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA), and other clean energy legislation passed in the 2019 legislative session. Signed by Gov. Jay Inslee in May, CETA requires, among other things, Washington’s electric utilities to transition to 100% clean power by 2045.

Sign up for 2019 clean energy implementation updates here.

Rates for Natural Gas Customers Increasing

Natural Gas Meters

Natural gas customers in Washington will see higher energy bills beginning Nov. 1 due in part to last winter’s colder temperatures coupled with the 2018 gas pipeline explosion in British Columbia.

Earlier this month the commission approved rate adjustments ranging from 4-15% for Avista, Cascade Natural Gas, NW Natural, and Puget Sound Energy natural gas customers.

To learn more about the increases to specific companies, click here.

Coming Soon: 2020 Census

The U.S. Constitution requires a count of the United States’ population every 10 years to count every resident. The next census count beings in Spring of 2020.

Collecting accurate information on all who live in Washington is important to the future of our state, ensuring we receive our share of federal dollars for vital community programs. In 2016 alone, Washington received $16.7 billion in federal funds, based on data collected during the 2010 census. Of that money, $58+ million went to energy assistance and weatherization programs throughout Washington.

The UTC is one of many state agencies directed by the Governor’s office to help with outreach. To learn more about the 2020 Census and important dates to remember, visit the state’s Office of Financial Management.