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Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission                                      August 2009
Table of Contents
Telephone Assistance
Effective Complaining
When to Call the Commission
Choosing a Long Distance Company
UTC Help

Help Us, Help YOU!

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Avista Rate Case
Avista customers are invited to comment on the proposed utility rate increase at two meetings next month in Spokane.
The first meeting is scheduled at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30 in the Council Chambers, City of Spokane Valley, Redwood Plaza, 11707 E. Sprague Ave.
The second meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m., Sept. 30 in the Council Chambers, City of Spokane, Lower Level of City Hall, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.  
For more information on Avista's general rate case, click here.  

Need Help?
Call the Commission!

1-888-333-WUTC (9882)
 What consumers are saying...
"You did a good job handling my complaint. I did not know this would be so easy and fast or I would have filed a complaint a lot sooner!"
-Betty, Seattle 

More Info About
Quick Links
UTC Contacts
1-888-333-WUTC (9882) 

Call Before You Dig
811 or 1-800-424-5555

Commission Calendar
Upcoming Open Meetings 
Sep.10, 9:30 am
Sep. 24, 9:30am
Oct. 15, 9:30am 
Welcome to the Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) e-newsletter. If you have questions about UTC Connections, please e-mail consumer@utc.wa.gov.

The UTC works every day to protect consumers by ensuring that utility and transportation services are fairly priced, available, reliable and safe. This bi-monthly e-newsletter is intended to provide you with current information about
regulated industries, current issues and topics that impact you.
Stay Connected with Telephone Assistance
Lady on the phoneAccess to a phone can be the difference between a person staying connected to local services, family and friends or feeling completely isolated. The Washington Telephone Assistance Program (WTAP) offers low-income residents a low-cost local phone so they can access vital emergency services and community resources. If you, or someone you know, are receiving assistance from the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), you may quality for local phone service for only $8 a month with a no to low-cost installation. For more information on the WTAP program, click here.
Effective Complaining
Do you have a billing dispute or service complaint? When you call a company to complain, there are many things you can do to effectively resolve your problem:
Know what you want. Before you make your call, know what type of resolution you are looking for, be it a refund, payment arrangements or simply just acknowledgement of the problem. Identifying your desired solution beforehand will allow you to express that to the company.
Know your consumer rights before you call. Read the commission's Consumer Guide: Utility Services if you are dealing with a utility company, or Consumer Guide: Moving in Washington State for a moving company.
Talk to the right person. Contact the company's customer service representative about the action you would like taken. If you can't resolve your complaint with them, ask to speak to a supervisor.
Remain professional. You will get better results if you remain calm and business like; avoid taking your frustration out on the person who may be able to help you. The person handling your complaint did not cause the problem, but may provide the solution.
Have your facts ready. Be prepared with copies of any bills, receipts, cancelled checks, notices or any other documents that support your claim. If the company requests the documents, make copies for them and keep the originals.
Keep good records. Keep a copy of any communication you have with the company for your records. If you file a complaint in person or on the phone, be sure to get the name of the person helping you.
Call the commission. If you have attempted to resolve your complaint with a regulated company and are still not satisfied, call the commission's Consumer Protection Help Line at 1-888-333-WUTC (9882) or e-mail consumer@utc.wa.gov.
When to Call the Commission
The commission regulates the rates and services of private or investor-owned utility and transportation services and it is our mission to protect consumers by ensuring that these services are fairly priced, available, reliable and safe.
To find out what serivces the commission regulates and when you should call us, click here.
Choosing a Long Distance Company 
Get HelpTake a look at your telephone bill this month and see if you could save some money by changing your long-distance service.
Tips for choosing a new long-distance carrier: 
  • Look at past phone bills and compare charges and usage.
  • Figure out the best rate for your usage, do you prefer a flat rate anywhere, anytime, or would you rather have a cheaper per-minute rate plan during certain times.
  • Call your current company and see if they are offering a better deal, note the calling plan rates so you can compare others if you decide to shop around.
  • Go over details. Once you find a plan you like, make sure you understand the in-state rates and monthly charges, including FCC-related fees. 
  • Find out who will pay for the cost of switching your telephone service, typically there is a charge for changing plans.
  • Commit to a company. Call the long-distance carrier of your choice and tell them you'd like to switch, they will arrange with your local company to route your toll calls. 
Once you switch, track your bills to see if you are saving money. Periodically review the charges on your bill and contact your provider for better deals. For more information on long-distance services, click here
What Can the UTC Do For You? Get Help
Do you need help with: 

When to Call the Commission
Consumer Help Line 
1-888-333-WUTC (9882) or
Tell a Friend 
Please take a moment and forward the UTC Connections e-newsletter to a friend, family member or co-worker who may be interested in similar issues.  Just click on "Forward email" below.  Thank you.