City Announces Utility Bill Assistance Program for Businesses

Marlene Feist, 509.625.6505

Tuesday, April 14, 2020 at 11 a.m.

The City of Spokane today is rolling out a utility bill assistance program to help businesses that have been faced with temporary closure or significant reductions in revenue as a result of the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Washington state.

“We are hopeful that this new program will provide some relief to businesses as they prepare for the future,” says Mayor Nadine Woodward. “Our work to help businesses in the City is designed to fill gaps that national and state programs have missed. Our City utility charges fall into one of those gaps.”

“Spokane community members have been fantastic in limiting confirmed COVID-19 cases, and the City is committed to making it easier for all businesses to restart our economy,” says Council President Breean Beggs.

Businesses can seek a deferral of one to three months of City charges for water, sewer, stormwater and garbage with an agreement to pay those charges over six to 12 months without interest. Specific terms would be tailored for each business seeking a deferral. Assistance is available immediately. Businesses can begin the process by filling out a simple online form.

The changes are part of the City’s continuing efforts to ease the strain on City utility customers during widespread closures of schools and small businesses because of COVID-19.

Last month, the City suspended late fees and water service shut-offs for non-payment of City utility bills until further notice by both business and residential customers. The City also has supported a new partnership to raise funds to assist households facing financial hardship with their utility bills.

That partnership teams up Project Share, which provides energy bill assistance, and U-Help, which provides assistance with City utility bills. The programs have created a public donation campaign. Each dollar donated by citizens is matched by both Avista and the City. That means for every $1 donated, $2 more go to support our community. Matching funds are available for up to $50,000 in community donations.

Low-income households facing financial hardship and seeking direct support for their energy or City utility bills through these programs can call SNAP (Spokane Neighborhood Actions Programs) at 456-SNAP.

For more information on City utility bills and payment options, please call 3-1-1.