Energy Assistance

Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA)

RCW 19.405.120 states that it is the intent of the Washington State Legislature to demonstrate progress toward making energy assistance funds available to low-income households. It requires utilities to make programs and funding available for energy assistance to low-income households. Each utility must demonstrate progress in providing energy assistance pursuant to an assessment and plans developed under the statute.   

Commerce is required under the statute to collect and aggregate data estimating the energy burden and energy assistance need and reported energy assistance for each electric utility, in order to improve agency and utility efforts to serve low-income households with energy assistance. In addition, the statute instructs Commerce to submit a biennial report to the Legislature that includes:

  • A statewide summary of energy assistance programs, energy burden, and energy assistance need
  • An identification and quantification of current expenditures on low-income energy assistance
  • An evaluation the effectiveness of additional optimal mechanisms for energy assistance including, but not limited to, customer rates, a low-income specific discount, system benefits charges, and public and private funds
  • An assessment of mechanisms to prioritize energy assistance towards low-income households with a higher energy burden
Commerce intends to submit its first biennial report to the Legislature by Jan. 1, 2023. 

Upcoming Workshops and Deadlines

Commerce is holding public workshops through the summer and fall of 2022 to inform its report to the Legislature. The schedule is subject to change. Any changes to the schedule will be announced through the CETA bulletin. You can sign up for the bulletin under “Sign up for Email Updates” on this webpage.

Draft Report Comment Deadline

Fri, Sept 16, 2022

Commerce is requesting the public submit comments on its draft biennial energy assistance report by close of business Fri, Sept. 16, 2022. Please submit comments to austin.scharff@commerce.wa.gov in both PDF and Word formats. 

Any suggested revisions to the Sec. 120 utility program data file or draft summaries should also be submitted to austin.scharff@commerce.wa.gov by Sept. 16. 

If you have any questions as you review these documents and prepare your comments, please do not hesitate to reach out to Austin Scharff at austin.scharff@commerce.wa.gov

Materials

2023 Biennial Energy Assistance Second Draft Report 

Tue, Sept 27, 2022

1 – 4 pm

Commerce will host a workshop to continue the discussion about its biennial energy assistance report. The agency will conclude the meeting by presenting its second draft report. Stakeholders will have until Fri, Oct 14, 2022, to submit comments on the second draft report. 

Meeting info
  • Zoom meeting (link)
  • Meeting ID: 853 6905 5765
  • Passcode: Assistance
  • Phone-in: +1 253 215 8782 
  • Call-in passcode: 6965110255

Comment Deadline on Second Report

Fri, Oct. 14, 2022

Commerce is requesting stakeholders submit comments on its draft biennial energy assistance report by close of business Fri, Oct. 14, 2022. Please submit comments to ceta@commerce.wa.gov in both PDF and Word formats.

Past Workshops and Deadlines

Recordings and past workshop materials will be made available within 48 hours of a workshop.

Commerce is requesting utilities submit their 2030 and 2050 energy assistance targets under RCW 19.405.120(4)(iii).

It was Commerce’s understanding during the last energy assistance data review process that utilities had not calculated their targets and Commerce offered to calculate them. A few utilities have since come forward with their targets and asked Commerce not to do the calculations.

The agency is honoring that request and asking utilities to submit their targets by Friday, Sept. 9.  

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact Austin Scharff at Austin.Scharff@Commerce.wa.gov.

2023 Energy Assistance Biennial Report Draft

Tue, Aug 30, 2022

1- 4 pm

Commerce is holding this workshop to discuss the energy assistance data it has gather as part of its draft 2023 biennial energy assistance report. Commerce will also present its draft report to stakeholders. Stakeholders will have until Fri, Sept 16, 2022 to submit comments on the draft report. 

Meeting materials

2023 Biennial Energy Assistance Report Outline

Tue, Aug 16, 2022

 

Commerce is holding a stakeholder workshop to discuss its 2023 biennial energy assistance report outline and gather stakeholder perspectives on the issues to be covered in the report. 

Meeting Materials

Utility Review Deadline

Fri, Aug 12, 2022

Commerce is asking utilities to review its aggregation file following its August 1 webinar to ensure the file accurately reflects prior utility data submissions and to verify that the reported low-income programs meet the definition of “low-income” established in WAC 194-40-030. Please notify ceta@commerce.wa.gov of the accuracy of the file by close of business Fri, Aug, 12.

Resources

Utility Data Review Webinar

Mon, Aug 1, 2022

11 am – 12 pm

Commerce is completing its initial aggregation of utility energy assistance reports and will be hosting a webinar on Mon, Aug. 1, 2022, from 11 am – 12 pm to present the file. The intended audience of the webinar is utilities that submitted data on their low-income energy assistance programs in February 2022. Commerce will ask utilities to review the aggregation file after the webinar to ensure it accurately reflects the utility data submissions and to verify that the reported low-income programs meet the definition of “low-income” established in WAC 194-40-030. The agency will provide further instruction on the statutory requirements to identify previous low-income energy assistance funding levels and those needed to meet the 2030 and 2050 targets under RCW 19.405.120(4)(a)(iii).

Resources

2023 Biennial Energy Assistance Report Kickoff Meeting

Wednesday, June 22

Commerce held its first workshop on RCW 19.405.120 (Sec. 120). The agency intends to use this meeting to review the statute and discuss subsections (6)(a)(iii) and (6)(b). Subsection (6)(a)(iii) requires the agency to evaluate the effectiveness of additional optimal mechanisms for energy assistance, including, but not limited to:

  • Customer rates
  • A low-income specific discount
  • System benefits charges
  • Public and private funds

Subsection (6)(b) requires Commerce to assess mechanisms to prioritize energy assistance towards low-income households with a higher energy burden.

The agency asks the public to come prepared to discuss both additional mechanisms for energy assistance and mechanisms to prioritize energy assistance toward low-income households with higher energy burden. The agency intends to hold additional workshops throughout the summer and fall to collect public input on Commerce’s work under Sec. 120. Commerce intends to submit its first biennial report under subsection (6) to the Legislature by the 2023 legislative session. 

Sec. 120 requires utilities to make assistance funds available to low-income households and demonstrate progress in providing energy assistance. Commerce has established a technical advisory team to provide leadership and guidance to Commerce in the implementation of Sec. 120. This includes providing input on both the data collection, aggregation, and analysis conducted under subsections (3) and (4), and policy evaluation under subsection (6). The work of technical advisory team will help inform the public workshops this summer and fall.

Meeting materials

Technical Advisory Team

Commerce has convened technical advisory team to provide leadership and guidance in the implementation of RCW 19.405.120. This includes providing input on data collection, aggregation and analysis as well as policy evaluation under the statute. 

Other materials

Utility submitted reports and materials are included below.

Quick Links

Laws and Regulations

Data

Need Help?

Austin Scharff
Energy Policy Specialist

ceta@commerce.wa.gov
Phone: 360-764-9632

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