Regulators expand bill assistance program for Cascade Natural Gas customers affected by COVID-19

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) today approved temporary changes to Cascade Natural Gas’s Washington Energy Assistance Fund (WEAF) to provide aid to customers who have lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Residential natural gas customers having trouble paying their bills will be able to apply for hardship grants of up to $400 from current WEAF funds, and the existing cap of $500 per program year per household has been lifted.

Additionally, the low-income verification requirement to qualify for Cascade’s WEAF program has been relaxed so that customers experiencing a sudden loss of income can receive aid quickly.

“I applaud Cascade for its commitment to helping its customers who may be facing difficulty during these unusual times,” said UTC Chair Dave Danner. “This program will help get bill assistance out as soon as possible to people who need it.”

WEAF funds are administered by local community action agencies. Customers who need to apply for the hardship grant should reach out to the agency in their area. Customers can also call Cascade at 1-888-522-1130 to discuss bill payment options.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cascade had already voluntarily suspended disconnections for nonpayment.

Kennewick-based Cascade Natural Gas Corporation serves almost 220,000 residential and business customers in 68 communities throughout the state, including Aberdeen, Bellingham, Bremerton, Kennewick, Longview, Moses Lake, Mount Vernon, Sunnyside, Walla Walla, Wenatchee, and Yakima.

The UTC is the state agency that regulates private, investor-owned electric and natural gas utilities in Washington. It is the commission’s responsibility to ensure regulated companies provide safe and reliable service to customers at reasonable rates, while allowing them the opportunity to earn a fair profit.

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