COVID-19 Utility Response

Governor Inslee has issued Proclamation 20-23, pertaining to Utility Ratepayer Assistance and Preservation of Essential Services. Clark Public Utilities is committed to keeping our customers connected to essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic emergency. If you are experiencing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible for support, including long-term payment arrangements or bill assistance. This Proclamation does not relieve customers from the obligation to pay for utility services.

Pandemic and Economic Crisis Response, One Year Later

One of the many benefits of being a nonprofit, public utility is that we are able to focus every day on doing what’s right for you – our customers, neighbors, and the communities we serve. This past year put many in our community to the test navigating job changes and losses, transitions to remote working and schooling, isolation from the communities that keep us connected and engaged, and concern for both health and economic crises.

Before the state issued a moratorium on utility disconnection, we committed to you more than a year ago that no customers would be without service for nonpayment throughout the response to COVID-19. And we continue to keep our word. We also took steps, with leadership from our board of commissioners, to further lower barriers to payment assistance programs and make it possible for those of you who were suddenly and significantly impacted by business closures, loss of child care and other hardships to qualify for relief.

These changes remain in place and we encourage any of our customers who are struggling to pay utility bills to contact us immediately to see what assistance programs are available. The utility has worked with Clark County, community organizations and our state and federal partners to secure and distribute any additional assistance available, and we continue to look for all opportunities to help both our residential and business customers.

In the last twelve months, with interaction through electronic devices often the only connection many have with work, friends and family, it’s even more clear how critical electric and water service remains. We took steps from the beginning of this pandemic to keep our employees safe to ensure we were always able to keep the power on. If electricity and water in your home could talk, we hope it would tell us a comforting story through a difficult year. That it gave you warmth, safety, hot water to sanitize your dishes and clothes, refrigeration for your food, energy to power your electronic devices, and even a bit of cheer through cooking, watching TV and movies, powering tools for home improvement projects, and keeping the coffee ready in an instant when you needed that extra burst of energy.

Just like you, our employees have worked hard to weather this storm and continue to provide the very best service we can, every day.

As vaccine eligibility expands, students begin to go back to the classroom, and extended families are slowly able to come together again, for so many in our community the crisis continues with months of unpaid bills, food insecurity and concern for what comes next. We can assure you that we are here, doing our best to provide the most reliable service at the lowest cost we can.

If you’re struggling to pay your utility bill, please call customer service or visit our website and see the ways we can help. We have a long history in this community of flexible payment arrangements, problem-solving and approaching all our customers’ needs with empathy. And it’s never been more true than today as our employees across the organization continue to implement new ways to provide relief for those of you who need assistance.

Let us help.

Lena Wittler, Clark Public Utilities CEO and General Manager


What We Are Doing

Clark Public Utilities is committed to continuing to provide steady, safe service and responding to outages as quickly as possible. Here is the latest information regarding our response to COVID-19:

  • Disconnections have been suspended and no customers are without power or water. Any customer experiencing hardship should call us – we don’t want anyone in our community to have additional worry because of these critical services.
  • Criteria for our payment assistance programs has been expanded and customers experiencing immediate financial crisis should call. But again, only vacant properties are being disconnected (when requested, for safety) – customers will not have power or water disconnected for any reason other than safety during this time of public health recommended social distancing.
  • In person customer service is closed but phone, email and online options are available 24/7, as they always are. Just reach out, we’re available.
  • Any energy assistance appointments (or any other appointments with utility employees) are being conducted by phone, and will continue to be until the situation changes. Payment assistance remains available and these processes can be done without in person contact, so please call if you have questions or concerns.
  • All large utility events (Home & Garden Idea Fair and Earth Day Fest) are canceled and smaller events are being updated as decisions are made (only very small, outdoor events where participants can remain six feet apart are being considered – all public health recommendations will continue to be followed as they change.) Anyone registered for an event will be receiving information from the organizer with updates.
  • We are translating as much information into Spanish and Russian as possible, but phone translation can be arranged for any non-English speaking customers. Just call and ask.

We are continuing to carefully balance the work required to maintain our high level of service (both safe and reliable water and electricity, as well as 24 hour customer service on the phone and email) while keeping our customers and employees safe. We will continue to make adjustments as needed to provide the support both customers and employees need to stay healthy. We appreciate your patience and flexibility as we continue to navigate through this time.

What You Can Do

Manage your account remotely with these convenient options:

  • Customer service representatives are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by phone at 360-992-3000.
  • Managing your account is easy and secure anytime using MyAccount. Visit www.clarkpublicutilities.com/MyAccount to pay your bill and explore payment options such as AutoPay
  • For non-urgent questions or requests you can email us at [email protected]

Criteria for our payment assistance programs has been expanded. Click here for more information about financial assistance or give us a call, 24 hours a day, at 360-992-3000.

If you see our crews or employees in your neighborhood, please wave and smile but observe the six-foot social distancing recommendation to keep everyone healthy. Employees are only doing necessary work in the field and limiting travel through the community and field employees are taking care to stay clear of customers and sanitize in line with recommendations.

Outages should be reported as usual to 360-992-8000 or online using the outage reporting tool. Steps have been taken to ensure these critical employees continue this work along with our other first responders doing vital work in our communities. Please do not all 911 for power outages unless there is a fire, injury or immediate danger. If you see a downed power line, just stay far away from the line and call 360-992-8000 or 360-992-3000.

While we are fully prepared to continue providing service, it is always good to be ready for possible power outages by preparing an emergency kit. Visit RedCross.org for a list of supplies and tips to stay safe and comfortable during a power outage.

Helpful Links

https://www.cdc.gov/

https://www.clark.wa.gov/public-health/novel-coronavirus

https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/Coronavirus

https://coronavirus.wa.gov/

Online Learning & Power Outages

Power outages in Clark County are infrequent and typically do not last long, but occasionally they may. Any outage has the potential to disrupt online learning being conducted for many students in Clark County due to the COVID pandemic. Find out how you can be prepared by checking out our Power Outages & Online Learning resource page.