Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, marked the 20th consecutive day of a federal government shutdown. According to the United States Office of Personnel Management, over 10,000 people in Seattle (.pdf) are employed by the federal government, and many of those folks may be affected by the shutdown and missing their normal paychecks. If you are among them—or if you are just having a hard time making ends meet—Seattle City Light has payment plans and assistance programs that may help you.
Make a Payment Plan
If you don’t already have a payment plan in place and receive a bill that you don’t think you can pay in time, City Light will work with you on a payment plan as long as you can pay 50 percent of any delinquent amount. Read more about how to set up a payment plan here.
If you are a federal employee or enrolled in federal assistance programs impacted by the federal government shutdown, City Light will work with you to defer payment on utility bills until the shutdown is resolved. Call us at (206) 684-3000 or you can submit an online inquiry via the link in the “Contact Us” box here.
Federal Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
One federal program for customers that need help is the Federal Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). LIHEAP offers assistance with paying bills along with budget counseling and weatherization services. Even though it is federally funded, it is administered by agencies in our community, so it isn’t affected by the shutdown. Depending upon where you live, you can sign up for LIHEAP online or via phone. City Light has instructions on how to sign up for LIHEAP here.
Utility Discount Program (UDP)
The City of Seattle also offers the Utility Discount Program (UDP) for income-qualified customers of Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities. Customers enrolled in UDP receive 60 percent off their City Light bills, so if you need help check to see if you meet income requirements and enroll here.
Emergency Low Income Assistance (ELIA)
City Light offers its own program for customers who have received an “Urgent” or “Shut-Off” notice on balances of $250 or more. The Emergency Low Income Assistance (ELIA) program offers up to $200 every 12 months for customers who make the minimum payment to avoid disconnection and payment arrangements for the balance.
To get more information or sign up for ELIA, call (206) 684-3688 or email SCL_InfoELIA@seattle.gov.
Looking to help others? Donate to Project Share
Finally, there is a program available for LIHEAP or ELIA participants which is funded by donations from City Light employees, customers and other supporters. Project Share takes donations and disburses the money to those in need. Last year, Project Share provided assistance to about 1,000 people. The average benefit for recipients was $250.
Project Share’s one-time emergency assistance grants can make a huge difference in the lives of your friends and neighbors. If you are financially stable, please consider making a donation here.