The Snohomish County PUD Board of Commissioners recently approved enhancements to the PUD’s income qualified assistance program that will make it accessible to more customers and provide more relief at the same time.
The changes to the program include expanding eligibility and increasing the discount amounts for most of the customers in the program. The name of the program changed as well as the former low-income and senior low-income programs are both now named the PUD’s income qualified assistance program.
“The PUD is committed to providing relief to our customers who need it the most,” said Pam Baley, PUD Assistant General Manager of Customer and Energy Services. “We are proud of the changes we’ve made to our assistance program and look forward to reaching more of our customers as well as reducing unnecessary barriers to getting the assistance they need, when they need it.”
Changes to the program went into effect on July 1.
Under the program’s new guidelines, the PUD’s income qualified assistance program is available to all customers at or below 200% of federal poverty guidelines (FPG), an increase from the former program’s threshold of 125% of FPG. According to county statistics, that will allow the PUD to help approximately 20% of its customer base, roughly 50% more than under previous guidelines.
For customers who qualify, the new program will have just two discount tiers instead of three. Most current discount participants will see positive changes to their discount. Those who received 20% discounts before will now receive a 25% discount; those receiving 40% will now receive 50%. The third tier of the former program, which provided a 60% discount to customers, will decrease to 50% on March 2021.
The recent changes to the program are in addition to changes the PUD made to the program last year. The PUD partnered with several housing providers and local assistance agencies to streamline its enrollment process and provided free weatherization and energy efficiency kits for customers who qualify for help lowering their bill through conservation.