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Navigating Seattle City Light’s Rate Changes: Your Questions Answered

As we continue into the new year, we have received many inquiries about the recent rate adjustments. So, we’ve compiled the following list of frequently asked questions to keep our community informed.

Why did Seattle City Light raise rates, and when did this change happen?

In 2022, the Seattle City Council approved a 4.5% base rate increase, effective January 1, 2024. Alongside this, two surcharges were triggered in 2023, which also took effect on January 1.

Why did the Seattle City Council approve a 4.5% base rate increase?

Seattle City Council adopted a 4.5% base rate increase in 2022 to address demand increases and rising costs. This aligns with the rate path established in City Light’s 2023-2028 Strategic Plan.

What are the two automatic surcharges, and how do they affect the rate changes?

The 1% Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) “passthrough” reflects updates in rates and purchase amounts by the BPA. This passthrough is permanent until new retail rates are implemented on January 1, 2025.

The 4% Rate Stabilization Account (RSA) surcharge is a temporary increase. It was automatically applied after the RSA was depleted in 2023.

When will the RSA surcharge be removed?

We can remove the RSA surcharge when the RSA is refilled to $100 million, as mandated by Seattle Municipal Code 21.49.086. We’re working to replenish the RSA and remove the surcharge as soon as possible.

How do the rate changes affect residential customers and Utility Discount Program customers?

Overall, the rate increase amounts to about 10% for a typical residential customer. This means about a $9 monthly increase, or $18 on a bimonthly bill. A typical Utility Discount Program customer may see an estimated $4 monthly increase.

What help is available for customers to pay their utility bills?

Flexible payment plans are available for all customers. We also offer bill assistance programs for residential customers who qualify, including emergency assistance and the Utility Discount Program. Call our Customer Service Center at (206) 684-3000 for more information.

How does Seattle City Light compare to other cities’ electricity rates, even with the rate increases?

Despite the adjustments, Seattle City Light maintains electricity rates lower than many cities nationwide. Our focus remains on delivering safe, reliable, and environmentally responsible power.

We hope these answers provide clarity on the recent rate changes. City Light remains dedicated to supporting our community, ensuring accessible and affordable power for all. If you have further inquiries or need assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to our Customer Service Center at (206) 684-3000.