TACOMA, Wash. – Tacoma’s Public Utility Board and City Council approved additional funding for Tacoma Public Utilities’ Emergency Assistance Program, a relief program established on March 17 in response to the COVID-19 State of Emergency. Since the program launched with $1 million in funding, nearly 10,000 Tacoma Public Utilities (TPU) residential customers have applied for the funds, prompting the decision to increase the total funding provided to $2.4 million.
“When we started this program, our goal was to help community members struggling with financial hardship during this emergency,” said Jackie Flowers, director of Tacoma Public Utilities. “In addition to quickly establishing the Emergency Assistance Program, we also extended payment plans, stopped disconnections, and can waive late fees.”
The Emergency Assistance Program provides a one-time utility credit for eligible single-family households whose incomes are within 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines. The amount of assistance is based on the number of services billed by TPU. Most of the funds for the program were previously budgeted for the utility’s existing Bill Credit Assistance Program; however, the eligibility guidelines have been expanded to support significantly more households during Tacoma’s state of emergency. Utility credits from the Emergency Assistance Fund are one time only per household, so customers who have already received a credit are not eligible for an additional credit.
In addition to the relief program, TPU is offering payment assistance and arrangements, extended payment plans, suspended disconnects, and waiver of late fees for residential and business customers.
Customers in need of assistance can apply for the utility credit online at MyTPU.org/EmergencyAssistance or by calling 253-502-8600.
Business customers can qualify for extended payment plans and waived late fees and are covered under the Mayor’s suspension of disconnections. Resources for businesses can be found at MyTPU.org/COVID19Biz and at MakeItTacoma.com.
TPU customers who receive a paper bill and want to donate to help those in need can check the box on their statement and include a donation with their payment.
At the conclusion of Tacoma’s State of Emergency, the Emergency Assistance Program will continue while there are funds available and customers who need the program.
For more about TPU’s’ COVID-19 response, visit: MyTPU.org/COVID19.