Energy Assistance

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 assessments and plans developed under the statute.

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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, 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 has published its first biennial energy assistance report to the Legislature. The report and supporting materials are available below: 

Laws and Regulations

CETA Links


Austin Scharff
Energy Policy Specialist

Phone: 360-764-9632


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