Unusually High Electric Bill? This Info Might Help

City Light has recently received an increased amount of customer contact about higher bills. Here’s what customers need to know to address potential concerns.

Cold winter weather is a contributing factor to high bills, as it keeps people inside and often leads to higher energy use (heating, lighting consumption, cooking, entertainment, etc.). According to the National Weather Service, this is the coldest winter we’ve experienced in decades.

City Light has bi-monthly meter reads. When meter readers can’t access a meter (for example, if there is a locked gate or a dog in the yard), some customers might see a higher bill based on an estimated meter reading. The estimated meter read is based on the customer’s past energy consumption, and if a customer receives an estimated meter reading, it is indicated on the bill.

Two final factors to consider when you look at your bill from the beginning of 2017: City Light’s rates increased by five percent in January as part of the Strategic Plan approved by the Seattle City Council, and a 1.5 percent surcharge is in effect until City Light replenishes its Rate Stabilization Account.

Customer service is a top priority for City Light and we ask our customers to please contact us with any questions or concerns. If you feel like your City Light bill and/or meter read is inaccurate, we would like to work with you to address the issue. Customers can contact us directly via the following:

  • Phone: Customer Call Center – (206) 684-3000 This is a shared call center with Seattle Public Utilities, so call times may run long.
  • Email: scl_respond@seattle.gov  This is probably the best way of reaching us, as the call center may experience large call volumes.

Customers can also take a picture of their meter when emailing it to us; just make sure to include the account number associated with the meter. If  you live in an apartment, condominium building, or other multifamily unit and have meter access issues, we can work with the building manager(s) on a solution.

If there is a bill inaccuracy, City Light will fix it. If the meter read is correct and customers still need help with their bill, we offer programs such as Budget Billing. Customers may also contact us for information on payment arrangements.