UTC Connections: Nov. 2021

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 Nov. 2021

CCOPS Looking for Public Involvement 

The Citizens Committee on Pipeline Safety (CCOPS) is seeking members of the public to serve on the committee. CCOPS meets on a quarterly basis to discuss, identify, review, and highlight pipeline safety issues on a local and national level. The committee consists of nine voting members representing the public, including local government, and elected officials. Four non-voting members represent owners and operators of hazardous liquid and gas pipelines. Members of the public do not need industry knowledge or experience, just an interest in serving their community and the public. Interested persons can apply now.  

Utility Disconnections Resumed 

The governor’s statewide disconnection ban preventing electricity, natural gas, and water shut offs ended on Sept. 30.  

If you’ve fallen behind on your utility payments, you can still apply for assistance. Even if you’ve been denied or received other assistance in the past, you may still be eligible. Assistance programs, budget billing, and payment plans are available. Call your utility for more information.  

If you need help talking to your utility, call the UTC at 1-888-333-WUTC (9882) and we can help. You can also read our consumer alert for more information.  

There are several other resources available on our COVID-19 utility assistance page at www.utc.wa.gov/CovidHelp including the Department of Commerce utility assistance page, electric and natural gas assistance programs in Washington, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program and others.  

Consumer Alert: Utility Scams

Customer Service

Washington residents should be on alert for scams targeting residential and commercial 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 unusual method. 

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 your utility or phone company directly. 

Winter Heating Tips

Winter heating

Before you know it, winter will be here, and now is the time to prepare your house for the cooler temperatures. Some of the following tips can help you save money on your energy bills and keep your home cozy and comfortable: 

  • 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. Caulking and weatherstripping are the most effective air-sealing techniques to use in and out of your home.  
  • 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. 
  • Now is the 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. 

Reminder: 10-digit dialing now mandatory in Washington

As of Oct. 24, all calls made in Washington must include the area code, even if they’re not long distance and within the same area code. If you live in Eastern Washington, this change affects you. 

This change to 10-digit dialing is a first step toward ensuring that everyone in the country will be able to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline using a three-digit code of 988 that launches on July 16, 2022.  

10-digit dialing will not affect the price of calls, coverage areas, whether a call is local or long-distance, rates and services, or any other existing three-digit lines such as 911, 711, and 211.  

In addition to the dialing changes, important safety and security equipment such as medical alert devices and alarm and security systems must be programmed to use 10-digit dialing. While many systems use 10-digit dialing by default, some older equipment may still use seven-digits. Customers should contact their medical alert or security provider if they are not sure whether they need to reprogram their equipment.  

More information about the change to 10-digit dialing and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline can be found at www.utc.wa.gov/988 

Upcoming Holidays


The holidays are nearly here! The commission will be closed on the following days: 

  • Thursday, Nov. 25 - Thanksgiving Day
  • Friday, Nov. 26 - Native American Heritage Day
  • Friday, Dec. 24 - In Observance of Christmas Day
  • Friday, Dec. 31 - In Observance of New Year's Day
  • Monday, Jan. 17, 2022 - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • Monday, Feb. 21, 2022 - Presidents' Day 

Building Closed

The UTC building in Lacey remains closed to the public until further notice. Complete your business online at www.utc.wa.gov, or call our customer assistance team at 1-888-333-WUTC.