As End of Utility Shutoff Moratorium Nears, SNAP Fears Rush of Requests for Assistance

Sep 20, 2021

A sample Avista Utilities Bill. The moratorium on utility shutoffs and late fees ends Sept. 30.
Credit Avista Utilities

Fall is normally when utility assistance providers see a wave of requests for help paying winter heat bills.

This year, they expect an even larger barrage starting when Governor Jay Inslee’s moratorium on utility shutoffs expires next week.

Spokane Neighborhood Action Partners Director of Community Action, Carol Weltz, said the non-profit has enough federal aid relief to handle every anticipated request, but said staff can only process so many at a time.

“If they could wait until November or December, that would help take that load off at first so we could help take care of those ones that are more critical,” she said.

She said those facing an imminent shutoff should apply, and those who have enough resources to hold on until the holidays should wait.

“For people, it’s not if I’m going to get assistance, it’s just when I’m going to get assistance,” she said.

Energy assistance appointments at SNAP open today and will continue on the third Tuesday of every month. They are available online.