BELLEVUE, Wash.--()--The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission yesterday approved Puget Sound Energy’s request for a modest adjustment in electric and natural gas rates to boost by $4.7 million the utility’s bill-payment assistance fund for low-income customers.
With the funding increase, the Home Energy Lifeline Program, or HELP, will provide more than $15.5 million in direct bill assistance over the next 12 months. Eligible electric and natural gas customers can receive up to $1,000 a year in HELP relief to pay their PSE energy bills.
Thursday’s decision by the UTC adds 21 cents to the average monthly residential electric bill and 9 cents to the average natural gas bill. The change takes effect Oct. 1. The total monthly customer charge for the assistance program is now 78 cents and 41 cents, respectively, on the typical electric and natural gas bill.
The increased funding of HELP is expected to extend energy assistance to more than 8,000 additional low-income households served by PSE. During the 2011-12 program year, HELP provided assistance to more than 24,000 PSE customers.
PSE’s HELP fund is administered by local community-services agencies. PSE customers can get contact information about their nearest agency by calling the utility’s energy-assistance hotline, toll-free, at 1-866-223-5425.
About Puget Sound Energy
Washington state’s oldest local energy company, Puget Sound Energy serves 1.1 million electric customers and more than 750,000 natural gas customers in 11 counties. A subsidiary of Puget Energy, PSE meets the energy needs of its customers, in part, through cost-effective energy efficiency, procurement of sustainable energy resources, and far-sighted investment in energy-delivery infrastructure. PSE employees are dedicated to providing great customer service that is safe, dependable and efficient. For more information, visit www.PSE.com.