Updated links: UTC Connections: February 2022

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 Feb. 17, 2022

Editor's Note: We updated broken links sent in the previous version of this newsletter. Apologies for the inconvenience!

UTC Guidance on Participatory Funding 

Do you know of a community or advocate group that represents utility customers? Thanks to a new law, they might be able to apply for funding to make it easier to get involved in UTC proceedings and advocate for customer needs. In November 2021 the UTC issued guidance for utilities on how to provide funding and follow the new law.

Funding is currently open, and in the first year of the program each utility will:

  • Cap its program at 0.1% of its annual gross intrastate revenue, but no more than $300,000.
  • Set aside at least one-third of funds for organizations representing vulnerable and highly impacted communities.

The policy statement also outlines how utilities should recover that funding through customer rates. All organizations may use these funds for consulting and legal fees. Organizations serving vulnerable populations and highly impacted communities may also use these funds for a variety of costs, including training, technical assistance, and outreach. Groups cannot use these funds for overhead expenses, lobbying, or filing formal complaints. Read the full policy state in docket U-210595 on our website.

Garbage Collection and Delays

Recently inclement weather and labor disruptions have affected garbage collection. Not sure whether to file a complaint with the UTC? Each regulated garbage company does have reasons why it can miss pickups, but they still have obligations to you to make up for the delay.

 Each company has its own conditions — listed in document called a tariff — with the UTC outlining what is an approved reason for missing a pickup and what isn’t. If your company misses a pickup due to inclement weather, don’t fret. Leave your accumulated garbage out and they must pick it up when service resumes at no extra cost to you.

 In some cases, companies are allowed to miss a pickup due to a labor dispute but must also communicate with customers and have a plan to pick up missed trash, recycling, or yard waste. Learn more about residential garbage and recycling, or look up your company’s tariff.


Reporting Phone Outages


After reporting a phone outage to your phone company, the company has 48 hours, or two business days, to restore your service. Saturdays, Sundays, and state-recognized holidays are not included in those days.

Find more information about telephone service at www.utc.wa.gov/consumers/telephone.

April is Safe Digging Month


April is Safe Digging Month and the commission is reminding consumers: if you’re planning on digging a new garden or installing a fence, call 811 before you dig.

Pipelines and other underground utilities run just beneath the surface. Digging into these lines can be costly to repair and put you and your neighbors at risk. Save yourself the headache by calling 811 for a free underground utility locate before you break ground. Not only is it the law, but it can prevent you from damaging vital underground utilities and footing an expensive repair bill.

Calling 811 is easy:

  1. Dial 811 from any phone at least two business daysbefore your planned digging project.
  2. Provide the notification center with basic information about the location of your project.
  3. Outline your digging location with white paint.
  4. The notification center will alert all of your local utility companies to come out and mark their underground utility lines and pipes within your planned dig area.
  5. Once all utilities have been marked, follow safe dig practices.

For more information, visit www.callbeforeyoudig.org.

Building Update

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.