CIty Emphasizes Options to Help Customers with City Utility Bills

Payment plans, deferrals & financial assistance available

Marlene Feist, Public Works, (509) 625-6505

Wednesday, August 26, 2020 at 12:07 p.m.

Updated 03/29/2021

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, the City of Spokane wants to emphasize the options available to assist residential and business customers with their City utility bills. The options 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.

“The pandemic has certainly created a financial hardship for many of our customers,” says Spokane’s Public Works Director Scott Simmons. “We want to reach out and let people know their options.”

Here’s what’s available:

  • Low-income households facing financial hardship can seek direct financial assistance from the City’s U-Help program by calling SNAP (Spokane Neighborhood Action Programs) at 456.SNAP. Since the pandemic began, more than $67,000 in U-Help assistance has been distributed.
  • Residential customers also can apply for short-term and long-term payment arrangements without interest. The self-service options are available on the City’s web site. Some customers who are behind on utility bill payments may receive a letter with payment arrangement information as well.
  • Businesses can seek a deferral of City charges for water, sewer, stormwater and garbage with an agreement to pay those charges over time 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 City suspended late fees and water service shut-offs for non-payment of City utility bills, which include charges for water, sewer, and garbage, in mid-March. Washington state has continued those mitigation measures through the middle of October.

The City also supported a campaign last spring to raise funds to assist households facing financial hardship with their City and energy utility bills. More than $150,000 was raised. For more information, call 3-1-1.