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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.

  • 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 turned in a request for an application and got no response?

    Submission times for requests for applications has changed from M-F 9am to noon to M-F 4pm to 7pm.  If you submitted the request outside of these new hours, just re-submit the request during that time. Any requests outside of that time do not reach our attention for an application to be sent.

  • 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 you come in, any past due or shut off notice is 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.

    Please feel free to contact us by calling 503-615-0771 Monday-Thursday from 9:00am-12:00pm, or by completing our energy assistance appointment request form if you would like to apply.

  • 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 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 will then schedule an in office intake appointment.

  • 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. If you do not currently have an active account established, we would not be able to assist you. Once you establish an active account you can apply for assistance with past utility debt. Please feel free to contact us by calling 503-615-0771 Monday-Thursday from 9:00am-12:00pm, or by completing our energy assistance appointment request form if you would like to apply.

  • Do you help with water?

    Community Action currently is not providing bill assistance for water/sewer/storm water accounts with CARES Act funds. Please check back regularly to see if funding is available. 

  • What can I do if I am unhappy with your services?

    If you have an issue regarding a staff person, eligibility determination, program plan, program services, or termination from a Community Action program, you have the right to appeal any decision made. The first step in that process is to contact the Energy Program Manager,. You can call Community Action’s main line at (503) 648-6646 to be connected with them.

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

    A social security number is not required to qualify for all energy assistance programs. Please feel free to contact us by calling 503-615-0771 Monday-Thursday from 9:00am-12:00pm, or by completing our energy assistance appointment request form if you would like to apply.

  • Can I bring my kids to my appointment?

    Yes, absolutely. There is no child care provided, but children of any age are welcome in the appointment.

  • 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 971-223-6031 and leave a message so we can mail you an Energy Assistance Mailout Program Application.

  • What if I’m a Mailout Program client and my address has changed since the last time I got assistance?

    If you are part of the Energy Assistance Mailout Program, please call 971-615-0771 and leave a message with your name and new address.

  • Who must come to the appointment?

    At least one adult member of the household must come to the energy assistance intake appointment.

  • What if English isn’t my preferred language?

    Community Action does offer interpretation services for your energy assistance intake appointment. Please let us know when scheduling your appointment if you will need interpretation services and for which language.

Utility Assistance News: updated 10/19/21

  • We are serving limited in person scheduled appointments at our three locations. Walk ins will not be served at this time. If possible, please continue to use our mail or email process to apply. If you would like to request an in person appointment please call the Utility Assistance program at 503-615-0771
  • Northwest Natural Assistance requires a photo ID of person who is on the gas bill.
  • Currently Community Action doesn't offer water assistance but, click on the "Utilities we help with" link on right side of page to find out which water companies do have assistance available at this time.
    • City of Cornelius: Limited funds available for residents of the City of Cornelius. Household must have been COVID Impacted to qualify. If interested in applying please complete the Utility Assistance Application for PY2021-2022 and submit your City of Cornelius water bill.

    • City of Beaverton: City of Beaverton Water Account Customers must contact City of Beaverton water company directly to get referred for water assistance.  Water assistance given by City of Beaverton by  referral only.  email: utilitybilling@BeavertonOregon.gov for further information

    • City of Hillsboro: water assistance you must contact the city directly. Click here

    • Tualatin Valley Water District: Limited funds available for Washington County Residents with an active Tualatin Valley Water District account. If you received assistance directly through TVWD within the last year you will not qualify for this assistance. Contact TVWD directly to be screened for a referral. click here