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Participatory Funding

Participatory funding provides financial support for organizations to participate in Utility and Transportation Commission proceedings on behalf of the public for the following five energy companies:

  • Avista
  • Cascade Natural Gas
  • Northwest Natural
  • PacifiCorp
  • Puget Sound Energy

Join Us!

UTC is offering a two part virtual training series to learn more about the structure and role of the commission and ways the public can get involved. 

Part A: July 13, 2022 at 1 p.m. - AgendaVocab Handout, and Recording

  • General overview of the history and authority of the commission 
  • Overview of UTC staff roles and proceedings
  • Current key issues before the commission
  • Impacts to customers

Part B: July 21, 2022 at 1 p.m. - Agenda

  • Learn about the different types of UTC proceedings
  • How organizations can access Participatory Funding to participate in those proceedings
  • Other ways the public can get involved in UTC proceedings

Eligibility

Non-profit organizations are eligible to apply if they represent broad energy utility customer interests, including low-income, commercial and industrial customers, and vulnerable or highly impacted communities as defined by the Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA). 

Tribal Governments are eligible for funding. All other government entities are not eligible.

Approved Costs

All organizations may use these funds for the costs of participating in regulatory proceedings, including consulting and legal fees. 

Organizations serving vulnerable populations and highly impacted communities may also use these funds for a variety of costs, including training, technical assistance, and outreach. 

Groups cannot use these funds for overhead expenses, lobbying, or filing formal complaints. 

Approved Costs All Customer Advocate Groups Groups Serving Prioritized Communities
Consulting

Yes 

Yes

Legal Fees

Yes

Yes

Training No

Yes

Technical Assistance No

Yes

Outreach No

Yes

Overhead Expenses No No
Lobbying No No
Filing Formal Complaints No No

How to Apply

All participatory funding agreements are subject to approval by the three-member Commission at UTC. Once the agreement between the utility groups and the group requesting is final, the utility will submit the agreement to the UTC for their review.

Funding

State law requires investor-owned electric and natural gas utilities to provide funding to groups representing utility customers in their proceedings and prioritize funds for groups representing vulnerable populations or highly impacted communities. 

In the first year of the program, each utility will:

  • Cap its program at 0.1% of its annual gross intrastate revenue, but no more than $300,000.
  • Set aside at least one-third of funds for organizations representing vulnerable and highly impacted communities. 

State law allows utilities to recover participatory funding through customer rates, which are set by the commission in general rate cases. More information can be found in the utility agreement.