YAKIMA, Wash. —As temperatures drop, energy bills around the Yakima Valley will soon be on the rise. But starting next week, low-income families will be able to set up appointments to find out if they qualify for an energy assistance program.
Two nonprofit social service agencies will be offering programs for different parts of Yakima County.
The Opportunities Industrialization Center of Washington, which serves the Upper Yakima Valley, serves about 3,000 households every year, according to Director John Riggins. People have to register on its website, www.yvoic.org, for an appointment.
The website will be open 24 hours a day for scheduling appointments from Monday through Nov. 22.
Appointment slots run from December to April, and after those fill up, Riggins said, they will add people to a waiting list.
Riggins recommends that people without Internet access use the computers at their local libraries to schedule an appointment.
For residents of the Lower Yakima Valley, the Northwest Community Action Center in Toppenish also offers an energy assistance program that serves low-income families on a first-come, first-served basis. This year, they have funding for about 1,650 households, according to spokeswoman Janice Gonzales.
Interested individuals can email EAP@ncactopp.org starting Nov. 25 to get on the waiting list for an appointment. Gonzales recommends including name, address, telephone number and preferred appointment times, and emailing as soon as possible once the waiting list opens.
“Very frequently, all the appointments are taken in the first three days,” she said.