EVERETT — Help is available for older adults and others living in low-income households who are having trouble paying their power bills.
But sometimes they wait until they’ve fallen behind on their bills before asking for assistance.
“They do not have to be behind on their bill,” said Nathan Heber, senior program manager for the Snohomish County PUD.
They do have to meet income guidelines to qualify for a low-income discount.
For example, the annual household income for those 62 and older cannot exceed $28,973 to qualify.
The maximum annual household income for a family of four is $30,750.
The program can reduce electric and water bills by 20 percent, 40 percent or 60 percent depending on income levels.
Last year, 18,000 households qualified for the discounts. The program costs to the PUD totaled $6.4 million, Heber said.
Qualifying customers have to reapply for the discounts every 18 months.
Although applications can be filled out year-round, customers tend to apply when it starts getting cold — October, November, December and January. “That’s when we see the biggest influx,” Heber said.
A separate program, called Project PRIDE, allows people to donate to a fund to help customers who are in financial crisis with their power bills. Last year, $75,000 was donated through either one-time or ongoing donations on every power bill.
The program is administered by St. Vincent de Paul. Customers may qualify for a one-time grant of up to $150.
“People do genuinely care about their neighbors,” said Neil Neroutsos, a PUD spokesman. “We want to make the programs known to people. They’re here for people to use.”
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; email@example.com.
Get help, give help
For an application or more information about the PUD’s assistance programs, go to www.snopud.com/discounts or call customer service at 425-783-1000.
Project PRIDE is another assistance program that raises voluntary contributions from PUD customers to help low-income customers pay their power bills.
Donations to the program can be made at www.snopud.com/projectpride or by mailing a check payable to Project PRIDE to PO Box 2269, Everett, WA. 98213.
Customers seeking assistance of up to $150 per year may call St. Vincent de Paul at 425-374-1243. In-person appointments are available at the offices next to its thrift store at 6424 Broadway in Everett.