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More Washington residents eligible for energy assistance

Avista's headquarters in Spokane.
Rebecca White/SPR
Avista's headquarters in Spokane.

A new program has streamlined and expanded energy assistance for Avista customers in Washington.

 

In previous years, Avista energy customers received a lump sum to help them out through the months with the highest energy use. A 2021 Washington state law taking allowed the utility to instead offer energy discounts to low-income people.

 

Tamara Bradley, Manager of Social Impact at Avista, said the utility has already enrolled the customers it knew were eligible, using data from the old system. But many more may qualify.

 

“We have 129,000 customers eligible with roughly 18,000 enrolled,” she said. “In the environment that we live in, with increases in our day to day living, customers who may not have been eligible in the past are eligible now.”

 

According to the requirements, a Spokane family of four that makes around $71,000 a year or less is eligible. In Stevens, Pend Oreille, Lincoln, Ferry and Adams counties, a family of four is eligible if they make $66,800 or less a year.

 

Bradley said many seniors are eligible, as well as demographics who often believe they won’t qualify, such as college students. In Spokane County, a one-person household that makes less than $49,850 a year is eligible.

 

You can find out if you quality by going to the “my energy discount” page on Avista’s website, or calling 1-800-227-9187. Spokane Neighborhood Action Partners, or SNAP, can also help people sign up.

Rebecca White is a 2018 graduate of Edward R Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. She's been a reporter at Spokane Public Radio since February 2021. She got her start interning at her hometown paper The Dayton Chronicle and previously covered county government at The Spokesman-Review.