SNAP Energy Assistance Program Appointments fill up within hours

SPOKANE, Wash. — During this pandemic, it’s been tough for families to pay bills. Tuesday morning, SNAP opened their monthly energy appointments at 8 a.m., and within three hours all the spots for the month were filled.

This program helps eligible households ease the financial impact of heating costs between the months of October and June. In October 2020, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission ordered electric and natural gas companies in the state to continue a moratorium on disconnections for non-payments until April 2021, but families here in Spokane are still in need of assistance for paying off those bills.

In order to qualify for the SNAP energy assistance program, the households must be in Spokane County. The average household monthly income must be at or below certain income guidelines, and a household cannot have received assistance from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program since the beginning of October.

If you don’t qualify or want to see what utility companies are doing outside of SNAP, here is what a couple are doing in our area — Avista has a comfort-level billing program which levels out 12 monthly payments. They also offer a preferred due date so you can pay during the part of the month that works best for you. They have an arrangement program where you can contact a representative and work through payment issues.

Inland Power also has a partnership with SNAP. They also utilize their Inland Power Community Foundation, which provides financial support to organizations and individuals. Lastly, they have their budget billing which gives customers the opportunity to pay the same amount each month as bills fluctuate throughout the year.

While all of the SNAP energy appointments have been filled for this month, new appointments will open back up on February 16, at 8 a.m.