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Frequently Asked Questions

  • How is the payment made?

    Once we determine eligibility, payment is made directly to the utility vendor (oil, propane, wood, electric or gas company).

    • If heat is included in rent, applicants can be paid directly.
    • Direct payments can also be made to applicants who have already purchased their winter supply of fuel and  have provided receipts showing purchase.
  • How much help will I receive?

    Energy programs are designed to help with your heating/cooling costs. It is not intended to pay the entire amount of your bill. Payment amount depends on various factors such as size of your household, annual gross income, and household heating source. 

  • I request a mailed application and have not received it?

    Requests for a mailed application should arrive 2 to 3  weeks after submitting request. If you need your application sooner, an application is available for printing online by clicking here

  • My utility says they didn’t get the payment.

    We notify your utility company the same day that your application is processed. However, it can take 4 to 6 weeks before the payment is reflected on your billing statement. Since the utility company is notified the same day that we processed your application, any past due or shut off notice are canceled right away. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us by e-mail energy@caowash.org or phone 503-615-0771.

  • How often can I apply for help?

    Community Action’s Energy Assistance Team utilizes several funding sources with different requirements. You may apply for energy assistance as often as you wish. However, all assistance options are subject to funds available. There may be times we are unable to assist due to funding restrictions.

    click here for a new application

  • My utility debt is a barrier to housing, what can I do?

    If you have utility debt (PGE, Northwest Natural, City of Forest Grove Electric, West Oregon Electric) and it is causing a barrier to obtaining housing in Washington County, you may contact us at 503-615-0771 extension 1 to be screened for eligibility. Once screened, we can write a letter to the potential landlord explaining that you have been determined eligible for energy assistance, and that Community Action will be able to address the utility debt as soon as you take possession of the unit. Once you have an active utility account we can then process your application for assistance.

  • What if the bill isn’t in my name?

    An adult member of the household must be listed as the customer or co-customer on the utility account(s).

    • If your landlord requires that the utility account stay in their name, please provide a copy of your rental agreement, or a letter from your landlord explaining why.
    • We can work with the utility company if your name is not on the utility account because of a domestic violence situation.
    • If you are unable to have an adult member of the household listed on the account as customer or co-customer, we will be unable to provide energy assistance due to state and federal funding requirements.
  • What if I have utility debt in collections?

    To be eligible for assistance, your household must have an active utility account in Washington County in the name of an adult household member. Any debt in collections cannot be assisted due to it is not an active utility.  Once you establish an active account you can apply for assistance, but any collection debt would not be covered.  

  • Do you help with water?

    Currently Community Action offers water assistance.  We have received limited funding which can be used at most water companies.  You will need to provide a copy of your bill along with your utility application.  

  • What if I don’t have a Social Security Number?

    A social security number is not required to qualify for all energy assistance programs. If at all possible, you should list social security numbers on your application, not having social securities numbers listed can limit the funding available for your household.

  • Can I bring my kids to my appointment?

    Currently we have extremely limited in person appointments. Due to Covid we highly encourage to make other arrangements,

    but if there is no child care available, children are welcome in the appointment with masks.

  • What if I am disabled and can’t come to an in-office appointment?

    Community Action’s Energy Assistance Program can provide energy assistance services via mail to homebound residents of Washington County. Please call 503-615-0771 extension 3 and leave a message so we can mail you an Energy Assistance Mailout Program Application.