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Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission                                   March 2010
Table of Contents
Energy-Efficiency Challenge
Consumer Protection Week
Call Before You Dig
City Taxes on Your Phone Bill
DIY Energy Audit
UTC Help
 What consumers are saving...
In 2009, UTC Consumer Protection Staff helped consumers save more than $700,000!
Need Help?
Call the Commission!

1-888-333-WUTC (9882)

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

Call Before You Dig
8-1-1 or 1-800-424-5555

Commission Calendar
Upcoming Open Meetings 
Mar. 11, 9:30 a.m.
Mar. 25, 9:30 a.m. 
 Apr. 15, 9:30 a.m. 
I want to stay connected!
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.
Meet Washington's Energy Challengers
Chairman Goltz chooses WA familyLast month we invited residents to apply to represent Washington state in a national energy-efficiency challenge. The 30-60-90 Challenge selects one family from each state across the nation to compete an in energy-conservation contest during April, May and June.  UTC Chairman Jeff Goltz (right) chose our family by lottery and Washington will be represented by...drum roll please...the Scharf family from Monroe! Follow their journey to reduce their energy bills starting April 1 on the commission's Facebook page!  For more information on energy efficiency and the 30-60-90 Day Challenge, click here.
Consumer Protection Week
National Consumer Protection week is this week, March 7-13. Protect your family and finances by becoming an educated consumer. Find free resources to help protect your privacy, manage money and debt, avoid identity theft and steer clear of fraud and scams at www.consumer.gov.
To avoid becoming a victim, check your utility bills for incorrect charges. Confirm companies you hire have valid permits and proper licenses. Always check with the state before it's too late! To lookup a company or report fraud, visit www.suspectfraud.com.
The commission offers consumer protection services to customers of regulated utility companies. To read the 2009 consumer complaint report, click here.
If you have a problem with your energy, telephone, water or garbage company, call the commission for help! We can also help you find a moving company who is permitted and insured. Call the commission at 1-888-333-WUTC (9882) or visit www.utc.wa.gov/consumer for more ways to protect your money!
Before You Dig - Know What's Below
Become a FanAs we turn the corner from winter into spring, thoughts of outdoor projects, home improvements and gardening begin to spring up with the daffodils. Before you dig into your projects, be sure to Call Before You Dig. Washington law states that any resident digging 12 inches or more, must call 811 at least two business days before the project start date to request a FREE underground utility locate. The call is free, the locate is free - the penalties and potential property damage if you don't call are extremely high. For more information on Call Before You Dig, visit www.callbeforeyoudig.org.  
If you have a problem with a utility locate - the locate is late, inaccurate or incomplete - call the commission at 1-888-333-WUTC (9882) or e-mail consumer@utc.wa.gov.
City Taxes on Your Phone Bill
Paying BillsLook closely at your telephone bill. Are you are being charged correctly for city taxes? If you live outside city limits you should not be charged a city tax. If you notice incorrect charges on your landline telephone bill, call the commission at 1-888-333-WUTC (9882) or e-mail consumer@utc.wa.gov.
If you have a billing dispute with a wireless telephone company, click here.
Fix-A Leak
Did you know household water leaks can waste more than one trillion gallons a year nationwide?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) kicks off national Fix-A-Leak Week, March 15-21, to remind us of the environmental and economic benefits to fixing leaks from household plumbing fixtures and irrigation systems.
Here are a few quick ways to fix water leaks:
  • Reduce faucet leaks by checking faucet washers and gaskets for wear and, if necessary, replace the faucet with a more efficient model.
  • Leaky toilets are most often the result of a worn toilet flapper, the rubber mechanism in your toilet tank that is the moving part of the flush valve. The flapper seals water into the tank and allows water to exit the tank when you flush. Replacing the rubber flapper is a quick fix that could save a home up to 200 gallons of water per day.
  • For a leaky garden hose, replace the nylon or rubber hose washer and ensure a tight connection to the spigot using pipe tape and a wrench.
  • Landscape irrigation systems should be checked each spring before use to make sure they are not damaged by frost or freezing.
For more information on Fix-A-Leak Week and water saving tips from the EPA, click here.
Do-It-Yourself Home Energy Audit
FacebookThis spring, conduct an at-home energy audit to see where your home is losing energy...and costing you money! The U.S Department of Energy offers a free and easy way to find areas of your house that need efficiency upgrades. Find the air leaks, test the insulation and rate your appliances with this DIY home audit. To start your energy audit, click here.
If you are trying to decide whether to invest in a more energy-efficient appliance or you'd like to determine your electricity loads, 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
Become a Fan 
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.