TACOMA, Wash. - Washington's moratorium on utility shutoffs ends Thursday, September 30, but the City of Tacoma wants to ease the transition for people living there who struggle to pay the bills.
Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards issued a statement offering help for people behind on their payments. Notably, Woodards says City of Tacoma's utility shutoff moratorium is independent from the state's, so no one will be shut off when Washington's order ends Thursday.
"The State’s moratorium on utility shutoffs is scheduled to end on September 30, 2021. I know that this may raise concern for a number of families across Washington state and right here in Tacoma who are behind on their payments.
"Overall, you remain responsible for your utility bills, and we want to help you take action. If you’ve fallen behind on your utility payments, you are not alone. However, now is the time to make a plan to keep your service. Call 2-1-1 to speak with someone who can connect you to programs that can help.
"Right now, there are tens of millions of dollars available for customers with overdue balances through several types of relief funds. Our goal is to connect every qualifying Tacoma Public Utilities customer with these resources. However, many of these relief funds are also available to customers of other utility providers. Because a number of other providers will begin shutting off service at the end of September, it is critical that Tacoma Public Utilities and Environmental Services customers apply for these resources now, while funds last.
"I want to reassure Tacoma Public Utilities customers, including those outside city limits, that the City of Tacoma’s utility shut-off moratorium is independent of the action that the State has taken. This means that no one in our community will be shut off immediately, and we will provide advance notice before the moratorium established under Tacoma’s Declaration of Emergency ends. When it concludes, every Tacoma Public Utilities customer with an outstanding balance from the months of the pandemic will be placed on an automatic installment plan.
"In the meantime, I urge all of our residents to call 2-1-1, find out what assistance you qualify for and take advantage of the resources available to help you and your household."
Washington's eviction moratorium bridge has been extended to October 31.
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