With the adoption of Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1329 this past session, the Washington Legislature has changed the rules for collecting delinquent bills for utilities that provide water and power services to residential customers in this state. Beginning July 23rd, no water district may terminate a customer’s service for lack of payment “on any day for which the national weather service has issued or has announced that it intends to issue a heat-related alert, such as an excessive heat warning, a heat advisory, an excessive heat watch, or a similar alert, for the area in which the residential user's address is located”. The new law applies to single-family residences, mobile homes, and metered apartment buildings.
In addition to prohibiting service disruptions during these heat events, the new law requires utilities, where requested by the customer, to restore service during a heat event to any customer previously disconnected due to a lack of payment. The law provides that notice of the right to reconnection, along with contact information for making the request, be included in any notice of disconnection. Subject to limitations in payment plan terms, the utility may require that the customer enter into a payment plan to pay the delinquency over time.
Once the law becomes effective, we will monitor the National Weather Service bulletins and follow plans in place to make sure we are complying with these new regulations. Please feel free to contact our Customer Services staff, at 253-941-1516, if you have any questions.