UTC Connections Newsletter - Winter 2023

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March 2023

UTC's PEAR External Advisory Group

utc pro equity anti racism logo with a pear

The UTC PEAR External Advisory Committee met on February 15. The group reviewed the agency’s PEAR plan and metrics, and discussed the group’s norms and roles.

The next meeting will occur early this summer, watch for details to be posted soon. For more information on our PEAR program, visit our website.

Consumer alert: Missed garbage pickup

Garbage Truck

Has recent inclement weather affected your garbage collection? Not sure whether to file a complaint with the UTC? Each regulated garbage company may miss pickups due to weather at the discretion of the driver or company.

Even if the weather or road conditions at your home look serviceable, that may not be the case for the driver’s entire service area, nearby roads, or at the transfer station. If your garbage company misses a pickup due to inclement weather, they still have an obligation to make up for the delay. Leave your accumulated garbage out and they must pick it up when service resumes at no extra cost to you.

Garbage companies are not required to provide a credit to customers if the company collects all accumulated waste on the next scheduled service date which the company deems it safe to operate. The service paid for is still being provided; it is simply delayed for safety reasons. Keep in mind that in extended bad weather, it may take more than one week to service your garbage.

Each company has its own conditions—listed in a document called a tariff—that must be submitted and approved by the UTC, outlining what is an approved reason for missing a pickup and what isn’t. Missed pickups due to weather comply with commission-approved tariffs.

Learn more about residential garbage and recycling, visit our website, download our Garbage Guide (PDF), or look up your company’s tariff.

March 5-11 is Consumer Protection Week

National Consumer Protection Week

The UTC is partnering with federal and state agencies to support National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), March 5-11. NCPW is a time when government agencies, consumer protection groups, and organizations share information about consumer rights and help people learn to spot, report, and avoid scams.

In 2022, consumer protection staff at the UTC intervened in nearly 28,000 potential customer energy utility disconnections and closed more than one thousand customer complaints across six industries.

In addition to resolving complaints, consumer protection staff help consumers find utility assistance, provide information on consumer rights, and assist consumers in locating permitted residential moving and passenger transportation companies.

To reach our consumer protection staff, you can call 1-888-333-WUTC (9882), email consumer@utc.wa.gov, or visit our website.

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

New crisis line is first in the nation dedicated to serving American Indian and Alaska Native communities

Washington’s Native and Strong Lifeline is now live–the first program of its kind in the nation dedicated to serving American Indian and Alaska Native people. Operated by volunteers, this line is available for people who call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline and is specifically for Washington’s American Indian and Alaska Native communities.

Calls are answered by crisis counselors who are tribal members and descendants closely tied to their communities. The counselors are fully trained in crisis intervention and support, with special emphasis on cultural and traditional practices related to healing.

The Native and Strong Lifeline is integrated into the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline system in Washington state. When someone calls 988 Lifeline from a Washington state area code, they will hear an automated greeting with a menu of options. Callers can now choose option 4 to be connected to the Native and Strong Lifeline.

UTC Spotlight: Pipeline Safety Division


The UTC’s Pipeline Safety Division has the vital role of ensuring public health, safety, and environmental quality of over 45,000 miles of pipelines in Washington. The program conducts inspections, improves laws and regulations, educates communities, provides technical assistance, and enforces laws and regulations.

Pipeline Safety Program website ranks among the top in the U.S.

Last November, the Pipeline Safety team received recognition for being No. 1 in the nation for its website transparency. The division website ranked among the top in the Pipeline Safety Trust (PST) State Pipeline Safety Website Transparency Review.

PST conducts an annual review of each state’s pipeline safety website to rate several factors, including the amount of publicly available information and accessibility to members of the public.

This year, the UTC received perfect scores in the PST’s review, an accomplishment also achieved by Illinois and Nevada.

April is National Safe Digging Month

Safe Digging Month

April is recognized across the U.S. as National Safe Digging Month (NSDM).

Many digging projects like gardening and construction begin in April and it's important to contact 811 before putting a shovel in the ground. Anyone who plans to dig should call 811 or go to the Washington State 811 website a few business days before digging to request that the approximate location of buried utilities be marked so you don’t unintentionally dig into an underground utility line.

We invite you to join us this NSDM in reminding your neighbors and others to call 811 to have buried utilities marked before digging. Remember, know what's below, call 811 before you dig!

For more information on the Call Before You Dig program, visit our website.

You may be eligible for the Working Families Tax Credit

Working Families Tax Credit

There is a new tax credit available for qualifying Washington workers!

The Department of Revenue is promoting the Working Families Tax Credit - a new program that will provide payments up to $1,200 to low-to-moderate income individuals and families. The amounts are based on income level and the number of qualifying children.

The purpose of the Working Families Tax Credit is to stimulate the local economy, promote racial equity, and support the financial stability and well-being of Washington residents and their families.

We’re helping the Department of Revenue spread the word. To find more information, check DOR’s website.