SPOKANE, Wash. — Several utility companies around the Inland Northwest are offering customers grace periods for paying their bills.
The policies apply to those with financial situations like reduced work hours due to local or statewide coronavirus restrictions.
Avista, Inland Power and Electric and Kootenai Electric are some of the companies temporarily offering extended due dates or payment plans.
“For as long as we need to, we’re also waiving fees. As long as they call in, we can definitely get them taken care of,” said Andy Barth, the business director for Inland Power and Electric.
But there are some restrictions, Barth said. A customer has to call and inform the company of their financial situation before their bill is due. Otherwise, they risk having to pay a late fee or losing their services.
Even with these restrictions, there are some protections for tenants.
The City of Spokane has also banned evictions or late rent fees through April 30. City Spokesperson Brian Coddington said police will not get involved in an eviction process. This would be on a case-by-case basis, and if someone were in danger, police would get involved.
Management from the other utility companies also said each decision depends on an individual’s case.
Each company said there is currently not a set date on when the grace periods will expire.