HOME & UTILITY
Utility Assistance Programs
The Opportunity Council offers bill assistance to eligible households for their home heating, energy, water, and sewer bills. Households must be income-eligible to receive assistance. Some programs do not require a balance owing to qualify. Depending on the time of year, we may help with the electricity, natural gas, propane, heating oil, wood, water, and sewer bills.
Whatcom County & Island Counties:
Whatcom County has currently filled all regular (non-crisis) appointments. We will be opening more appointments for regular, non-crisis energy assistance starting on June 5th both the Energy Assistance Line and online. Until then, we are open for a limited number of crisis appointments each week starting on Mondays. To qualify for a crisis, you must either be at or below 10% propane or oil, or less than 7 day supply of wood, or at risk of disconnection of service from water/sewer, electricity, or natural gas, or without heat due to a malfunctioning heat system (if you are a homeowner). Crisis appointments are only available by calling the Energy Assistance Line (online is not available).
Energy Line in Whatcom County will resume regular hours Monday-Thursday from 9am-12pm and 1pm-4pm starting April 3.
Island County still has some regular (non-crisis) energy assistance appointments available. Please call their number in the sidebar to see if you qualify.
We will offer online scheduling options for both counties when appointments are available. Please click on the link below for the pre-screening tool to see if you may be eligible.
Utility Assistance Screening Tool
*If you have a disability or phone/internet issues, you may fill out a special accommodation form (in English, Spanish, or Russian) and submit it either by mail (or drop off) to: CS Manager-Energy, 1111 Cornwall Ave, Bellingham, WA 98225 (Whatcom) or Energy Assistance-Island Director, 231 SE Barrington Dr, Ste 100, Oak Harbor, WA 98277 (Island). You may email your completed request form to: CSProgMngr@nulloppco.org. Requests will be reviewed in the order received. We cannot guarantee we will be able to accommodate your request.
The utility moratorium on disconnections for all electric/natural gas/water has ended. Please be sure to contact your utility provider for payment arrangements to avoid disconnection of service. If you have a disconnection notice for water, sewer, electric, or gas utility, please contact our office in your area for a potential crisis appointment. If you are a renter, there may be utility help available through rental assistance. If you are billed bi-monthly (every two months) for water, please call us if you are unable to pay about 2-3 weeks before the shut-off date. NOTE: Appointments are very, very limited this season and only available on a weekly basis starting on Mondays. Crisis appointments are scheduled only through the Energy Assistance Line so we can determine if you meet the crisis eligibility.
San Juan County:
LIHEAP has begun and is currently being scheduled by your local family/community resource center on Lopez, Orcas, and San Juan Islands.
NEW: We will have a water/sewer assistance program for those who have difficulty paying their bill. You may be eligible for assistance even if you are able to pay your monthly bill. Please inquire with your nearest resource center to see if you qualify.
Please contact your nearest resource center for more information on how to apply.
For a detailed update for programs available for our tri-county area, view Energy Scheduling Updates & Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).
New Air Conditioner and Air Purifier Benefit:
To be eligible for an Air Conditioner, you must reside in a household where someone is age 60 or over and has received LIHEAP since October 1, 2022. Please let us know at your LIHEAP appointment if you are interested. One per household–if you received one previously, you will not be eligible. We will begin contacting those who have approved Waiver Forms for the current season in Spring 2023 before any portable air conditioners are ordered.
Air purifiers are not available in Whatcom, Island, or San Juan Counties.
LIHEAP Furnace Repair and Replacement Program
Provides furnace repair and replacement to owner-occupied homes in Whatcom, Island, and San Juan counties that are LIHEAP eligible. Households must first apply for LIHEAP and satisfy all requirements of the LIHEAP program before a referral is made.
Projects are coordinated by staff at Opportunity Council and use qualified area contractors to complete the work. Typical work includes repairing or replacing air handlers, baseboards, wall heaters, furnaces, and venting systems. Please note that we do not offer duct cleaning. Determining whether a project is a repair or replacement is at the discretion of program staff and contractors. Unfortunately, we do not have any contractors able to service propane furnaces in recreational vehicles (RVs).
Interested homeowners should contact your nearest community office center (see sidebar) for information on how to apply.
Improves a home’s energy efficiency, durability, indoor air quality and addresses health and safety concerns. Weatherization services focus on attic, floor and wall insulation, reducing drafts, heating system cleaning and safety inspection and ventilation improvements. Available for both homeowners and renters with landlord permission. Contact us for eligibility requirements.
Weatherization Plus Health
Identifies indoor air quality improvements for a home, including mold and moisture reduction, pest mitigation and air quality improvements that can help reduce asthma triggers and improve indoor environments. Available for both homeowners and renters with landlords permission. Contact us for eligibility requirements.
Home Repair Loan
Deferred, low-interest loans may be provided to income-qualifying homeowners to address repairs that focus on: home foundation repair or installation, roof repair or replacement, plumbing, electrical, septic siding, floor, gutters or other repairs to help meet safety standards. Contact us for eligibility requirements.
City of Bellingham Mobile Home Repair
Opportunity Council partners with the City of Bellingham to assist homeowners with limited repairs that can address health and safety, durability issues, and energy efficiency measures. Contact us for eligibility requirements.
NW Clean Air Agency’s Woodstove Change-Out
Opportunity Council partners with Northwest Clean Air Agency to provide residents in the Columbia Valley of Whatcom County by replacing old wood stoves with new, certified wood or pellet stoves and installing electric ductless heat pumps. Available for both homeowners and renters with landlords permission. Contact us for eligibility requirements.
Community Energy Challenge
The Community Energy Challenge makes achieving energy efficiency as easy as possible, providing homeowners with a full energy audit at a discounted rate, a comprehensive report detailing cost-effective measures, ongoing consultation, quality assurance, and financial incentives. Small businesses can improve energy efficiency with a similar suite of services. This service is available in Whatcom, Skagit, Island and San Juan counties.
Building Performance Center (BPC)
BPC is an accredited training center that provides technical and certification trainings for the weatherization workforce. BPC conducts diagnostic testing services and lead hazard risk assessments and also helps homeowners by providing unbiased recommendations solving complex home performance issues around energy, durability and safety. Contact us if you are interested in training, certification, or diagnostic testing on your home.