As of 2015, emergency assistance is available to those who qualify through the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. Applicants must meet eligibility requirements for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, have an emergency need, and have a good reason for not paying the bill.
Applicants can visit WashingtonConnection.org to apply for emergency assistance and view qualification requirements. In addition, some electric companies around Washington state offer emergency services for qualified customers.
In Seattle, the Seattle Utility Rate 27 program lowers the utility rate for low-income households. Typically, this program provides households with a 50 percent discount and the potential to receive a lower rate in the future. Those who have received a final notice may qualify for $200 off their electric bills.
In the Puget Sound area, eligible customers may receive grants from the HELP program. Qualified applicants may receive up to $1,000 per year in natural gas or electric bill credits. The program is funded by LIHEAP.
Project SHARE also provides eligible applicants with emergency assistance if they have received shut-off notices, have taken advantage of all other assistance programs, and still need additional funds. Talking directly with the utility company may also lead to emergency assistance to those who qualify.