Energy grants a godsend for residents on tight budgets


Herald Writer

As a former World War II Red Cross nurse based in Russia during the frigid winter of 1943, Ruth Rea says she knows how to cope with cold weather.

"I have on long pants, winter socks, a long-sleeve shirt and a sweater," she said of how she was dressed in her Silver Lake home to cope with the recent cold snap.

"I’ll make it through anything. I’m not complaining," said Rea, who will celebrate her 78th birthday Christmas Day.

But living on a budget of $750 a month, "every penny counts," she said.

So she’s especially grateful for the $220 she received to help pay for electricity and heating costs this winter, a grant from the Snohomish County Energy Assistance Program.

Her worry: Either pride or not knowing about the program will prevent other seniors and low-income individuals from seeking the help they need.

"There’s help out there," she said. "I’ve had to take a couple of people by the hand … and say … this is the only way we can do it this winter."

The county program has a little more than $1 million in grants to help qualifying low-income individuals and families pay their heating and electricity bills this winter. Other money is available elsewhere.

Recent price increases in electricity and natural gas rates are expected to stress the budgets of many area families, but hit especially hard are those on fixed or low incomes.

Dan Anderson of Arlington is another area resident who has benefited from the program, receiving a $332 grant.

"They were very, very helpful to me," he said of program employees, adding, "I was in and out in 15 minutes.

"I’ve been working close to 30 years; I never knew this type of stuff would come in handy," he said of the energy grant he received.

Anderson, 51, said he was disabled by a head injury he received in 1967. After recently losing a job, he is applying for Social Security disability payments. Until then, he’s living on $329 a month he said he receives from the state, food stamps and help he gets from family members who pay his $465 monthly rent on a 55-by-15-foot trailer.

"I was worried about this cold spell, I was really shook up," Anderson said of how the increase in power rates will affect him.

With the PUD announcing a power rate increase of 33 percent on Wednesday, "There’s a whole lot of people in the state of Washington that will be hurting," he said.

Talk to us

More in Local News

FILE - A sign hangs at a Taco Bell on May 23, 2014, in Mount Lebanon, Pa. Declaring a mission to liberate "Taco Tuesday" for all, Taco Bell asked U.S. regulators Tuesday, May 16, 2023, to force Wyoming-based Taco John's to abandon its longstanding claim to the trademark. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)
Hepatitis A confirmed in Taco Bell worker in Everett, Lake Stevens

The health department sent out a public alert for diners at two Taco Bells on May 22 or 23.

VOLLI’s Director of Food & Beverage Kevin Aiello outside of the business on Friday, May 19, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Coming soon to Marysville: indoor pickleball, games, drinks

“We’re very confident this will be not just a hit, but a smash hit,” says co-owner Allan Jones, who is in the fun industry.

Detectives: Unresponsive baby was exposed to fentanyl at Everett hotel

An 11-month-old boy lost consciousness Tuesday afternoon. Later, the infant and a twin sibling both tested positive for fentanyl.

Cassie Franklin (left) and Nick Harper (right)
Report: No wrongdoing in Everett mayor’s romance with deputy mayor

An attorney hired by the city found no misuse of public funds. Texts between the two last year, however, were not saved on their personal phones.

Firearm discovered by TSA officers at Paine Field Thursday morning, May 11, 2023, during routine X-ray screening at the security checkpoint. (Transportation Security Administration)
3 guns caught by TSA at Paine Field this month — all loaded

Simple travel advice: Unpack before you pack to make sure there’s not a gun in your carry-on.

Heavy traffic northbound on 1-5 in Everett, Washington on August 31, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
To beat the rush this Memorial Day weekend, go early or late

AAA projects busy airports, ferries and roads over the holiday weekend this year, though still below pre-pandemic counts.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Snohomish in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Troopers: DUI crash leaves 1 in critical condition in Maltby

A drunken driver, 34, was arrested after her pickup rear-ended another truck late Tuesday, injuring a Snohomish man, 28.

Housing Hope CEO Donna Moulton raises her hand in celebration of the groundbreaking of the Housing Hope Madrona Highlands on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
$30M affordable housing project to start construction soon in Edmonds

Once built, dozens of families who are either homeless or in poverty will move in and receive social and work services.

A south-facing view of the proposed site for a new mental health facility on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, near 300th Street NW and 80th Avenue NW north of Stanwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
County Council OK’s Stanwood behavioral health center

After an unsuccessful appeal to block it, the Tulalip Tribes are now on the cusp of building the 32-bed center in farmland.

Most Read