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September 2013
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CityLink Seattle

Utility Discount Program Can Cut Winter Heating Costs by 60 Percent



Photo of grandmother hugging her grandson.Before cold winter weather returns to the Seattle area and starts driving up heating costs, Seattle City Light is working to help income-eligible customers cut their utility bills by 60 percent.

“It can be tough enough to make ends meet on a limited income,” City Light Energy Delivery Officer Phil West said. “People shouldn’t have to choose between staying warm in the winter and buying groceries. We’re here to help.”

The Utility Discount Program helps seniors and income-qualified families by lowering rates on the electricity provided by Seattle City Light and services from Seattle Public Utilities, including water, sewer and garbage. The average annual savings on electricity for participants is $450.

Photo of woman paying bills.About 13,500 customers are already participating. An estimated 20,000 others are eligible for reduced rates, but have not yet signed up for the program.

Photo of man setting his thermostat.City Light has started several efforts to break down barriers to participation caused by language differences, cultural skepticism and the required documentation. Staff members are available to help customers with their applications. Staff will hold office hours in neighborhood service centers to answer questions, guide people through the process and accept applications. And a pilot program is being developed to reach out to East African communities and seniors.

Additionally, staff will offer home visits to participants to identify opportunities for reducing their energy consumption. Participants will receive energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs, outlet gaskets, low-flow showerheads and referrals to the Homewise weatherization program and other resources. Visit www.seattle.gov/light/discount, call (206) 684-3417 or email scl_rateassistance@seattle.gov for more Information.

Seattle City Light is the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States.  It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to nearly 1 million Seattle area residents.  City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.