Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Complaints about Utility Services (Telecommunications, Gas, and Electric)

The Consumer Protection Department of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission has Consumer Program Specialists who can answer your questions and provide information about regulated utility services and assist with specific complaints and disputes. If you experience a problem with your regulated service, you can seek the assistance of the Commission by:

Help with Energy Bills

Conservation is a direct and often simple way to reduce energy costs. The UTC offers tips on how to conserve energy in your home. Additionally, many investor-owned gas and electric utilities offer energy conservation programs to customers.

Budget billing programs reduce the burden of higher energy bills during the winter by charging customers a monthly flat fee based on average usage.

Washington’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program provides federal assistance for energy customers who meet income and other eligibility requirements.

Help with Telephone Bills

The Washington Telephone Assistance Program (WTAP) provides assistance to low-income households, including many senior citizens, who are without telephones. WTAP is designed to make sure low-income individuals and households throughout the state have affordable telephone service. In many cases, consumer eligible for WTAP can receive cheap or no cost installation, payment of deposit, and lower monthly charges.

You qualify if you receive any financial assistance from the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), such as:

  • Temporary Assistance to Needy Families Food Stamps;
  • Supplemental Security Income Medical Assistance;
  • Refugee Assistance DSHS Chore Services; or
  • Community Options Program General Assistance.

To apply for WTAP, the adult receiving benefits should call their local telephone company. You will need your DSHS client identification number. If you have any problems, or need help signing up for the WTAP program, call Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission 1-800-562-6150. If you have questions about your DSHS benefits or client identification number call 1-800-700-8880.

If you don’t have a phone you may be able to have temporary use of a Community Voice Mail™ (CVM) number through a local agency that provides CVM service to its clients. Demonstrated financial need and a goal for using the service are the only requirements.

Participants in the CVM program are given a personal voicemail number (a phone number that sends callers to a voicemail account) where callers can leave messages. CVM is available across the state. For information about the CVM program in your area, check out the: List of Agencies in Washington Offering CVM.

General Consumer Complaints

Inquiries regarding unfair and deceptive practices, such as those regarding consumer products or landlord-tenant issues, internet fraud, and wireless telephone service, should be directed to the Consumer Protection Section of the Washington State Attorney General's Office.

Consumer & Mediation Specialists at the Federal Communications Commission are available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET to answer your questions and assist you in filing a complaint. Call toll-free at 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice or 1-888-TELL- FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY, or email fccinfo@fcc.gov. Visit their website at http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/complaints.html for more information.

General Consumer Information

The Smart Consumer Guide: Public Utility Services is available on the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) website. This guide answers many frequently asked questions regarding electric, gas, telephone and water companies regulated by the WUTC.

For more information on WUTC consumer services, visit: http://www.utc.wa.gov/consumers/Pages/default.aspx

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) offers information and assistance to consumers.

The FCC’s Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB) develops and implements the Commission’s consumer policies, including disability access. CGB is the public face of the FCC through outreach and education, as well as through Consumer Center, which is responsible for responding to consumer inquiries and complaints.

The FCC has jurisdiction over Telecommunications, Internet, Radio, Satellite Dish, Television & Cable Broadcast, and Cellular Phone services. CGB also maintains collaborative partnerships with state, local, and tribal governments in such critical areas as emergency preparedness and implementation of new technologies.

For more information, visit: www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumers.html.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) protects customers by monitoring the energy markets and projects that it regulates.

  • FERC offers both formal and informal procedures to address numerous issues, including complaints and settlements;
  • FERC can also require disclosure of investigative information to the public, and engage in market oversight and investigations;

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