You Might Be Eligible for Assistance With Your City Light Bill

The Seattle area just went through its coldest winter in 32 years. The cold weather, coupled with a recent rate increase and a Rate Stabilization Account surcharge, led to unusually high bills for many customers. If you are having trouble paying your City Light bill, there are programs that might help.

“Seattle City Light recognizes that folks who are struggling with finances often make difficult decisions about which bills to pay,” said Customer Care Manager Mat McCudden. “We have numerous options available to assist our most vulnerable customers.”

The first option 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. 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.

The City of Seattle also offers the Utility Discount Program (UDP) for income-qualified customers of Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities. In 2016, Mayor Ed Murray made changes to the program’s auto-enrollment that were projected to double enrolled households to 28,000 by 2018. That goal has been exceeded already, but tens of thousands of households that might be eligible have yet to enroll.

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.

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.

Finally, there is a program available for LIHEAP or ELIA participants that 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. 

“At Seattle City Light, we want to keep your home warm and the lights on,” said McCudden. “Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need a little help.”

Seattle City Light Teams Up with Mariners, Sounders for Energy Conservation Power Play

Seattle City Light has teamed up with the Mariners and Sounders this year to increase customer awareness of energy conservation and efficiency programs.

City Light customers will encounter advertising through television, radio, print, online, social media and in-stadium experiences.

Mariners right fielder Nelson Cruz is featured in two television ads, which describe the advantages of energy efficient LED lighting and how customers can help people in financial crisis pay their utility bills through Project Share.

Safeco Field also is displaying a City Light Power Meter on the 100 level councourse, showing the electricity, solar power and natural gas being used at the stadium in near real time.

Upcoming advertising with the Sounders will include Spanish language spots on El Rey 1380 AM in addition to the English versions on KIRO 97.3.

For more information visit seattle.gov/WePower or in Spanish at seattle.gov/energizamos.


Utility Discount Program Reaches Annual Goal of 2,500 New Participants

 

With more than 2,500 Utility Discount Program sign-ups this year, Seattle City Light has already met its annual goal for enrollment. But our mission is to provide the best customer experience of any utility in the nation, so we aren’t satisfied with simply meeting the goal. We’re still headed out into the community with sign-up events at community service centers, food banks, multifamily communities, and more. Good customer service makes sure people are signed up. Great customer service makes sure people know about other resources. The Utility Discount Program is a great place to start to keep your costs manageable. However, there are times when a little extra help is needed or you might not qualify for the discount. Try these resources:

  • The federal energy assistance program (LIHEAP) opens in November. If you need help paying your bill this winter, call the Energy Assistance Hotline at 800-348-7144. It’s open 24 hours a day,7 days a week.
     
  • If, after LIHEAP help, you are still behind more than $250 and get an URGENT or SHUT OFF notice, call City Light’s ELIA program at 206-684-3688.
     
  • If you still need help after LIHEAP and ELIA, or if you are ineligible for LIHEAP and ELIA, call about City Light’s Project Share funds 206-684-3000.
     
  • Interested in taking control over your energy use? Call the Seattle City Light Energy Advisors at 206-684-3800.
     
  • If you need some tips on how to manage your finances, the city has opened FREE Financial Empowerment Centers operated through Neighborhood House and available to anyone. Call 206-923-6555 to make an appointment.

Seattle City Light Employees Show Off Classic Cars, Raise Money for Project Share

Seattle City Light employees organized a classic car show and barbecue to raise money for Project Share.

Seattle City Light employees raised $2,400 for Project Share when they held a classic car show and barbecue Aug. 1 at the South Service Center.

The event brought together 33 vehicles, including a vintage camping trailer and a restored fire truck. Our Fleets office sponsored the event, and showcased City Light’s all-electric Nissan Leaf and the latest fuel-efficient line truck.

In addition to food and prizes, the Blue Angels did a fly over. (OK, that was a Seafair thing, but our timing was excellent.)

Attendees raised $2,400, which will assist City Light customers in financial crisis in paying their electric bills.

This Camaro flexed its muscles at the City Light employee car show.

Everybody loves a little red Corvette.

The top was down and the hood was up to show off this beauty.

Old trucks never die, they just go to car shows.

City Light Finalizes RSJI Work Plan for 2014

City Light has finalized its Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI) work plan for 2014. As part of its RSJI plan for the year, Seattle City Light will focus on the equity areas of education, equitable development, housing, jobs/economic justice, the environment, and service equity.

The work plan is part of a larger citywide effort to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all people, regardless of race or socioeconomic status. Seattle City Light is committed to removing the barriers that prevent all people from attaining the same access to opportunity in its hiring practices and customer service, as well as creating a community enriched by Seattle’s diverse cultures with full participation from all residents. City Light strives to implement outreach and engage with the public in a manner that reflects the diversity of the customers in its service area.

The city’s initiative is led by the Seattle Office for Civil Rights and various city staff, and is supported by all City of Seattle elected officials. More information about the initiative can be found on the city of Seattle’s RSJI website.

A few highlights from the Seattle City Light RSJI 2014 Work Plan include the following:

  • Seattle City Light will continue its efforts through the Powerful Neighborhoods program to reach seniors, non-English speaking households and low-income residents.  This program includes the direct installation of efficient lighting and water-saving showerheads in multifamily properties. Special emphasis is placed on outreach to affordable housing providers and their residents, with a goal of reaching at least 3,500 multifamily households.
  • City Light will partner with Seattle University to sponsor engineering projects for racially diverse teams of students to develop their skills, provide the opportunity to exhibit their work, and advance their education with real-life projects.
  • City Light’s 2014 goal is to reach 150 families with its HomeWise low-income weatherization program.
  • City Light will continue to partner with tribes in the implementation of cultural and natural resource protection and restoration in its work on the Boundary Project as well as the Skagit Project. In addition, the utility will assure communication on cultural resource issues as well as contracting opportunities are available for the Kalispel and Skagit River tribes.
  • In an effort to achieve equity in access to living wage jobs, City Light will increase opportunities for internships in the Seattle Youth Employment Program, as well as promote its Tuition Reimbursement Program and develop specific targets for closing any gaps in diversity in its workforce.
  • City Light is dedicated to building a workforce that reflects or exceeds the racial demographics of the communities it serves. In order to achieve that goal, the utility requires all staff members involved in hiring processes to be trained on Workforce Equity and Human Resources RSJI Best Practices. Furthermore, its 2014 plan includes deepening ties with diverse community and educational organizations to recruit interns and job candidates.
  • In addition, City Light actively seeks to work with Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUB) and Women and Minority-owned Businesses (WMBE).  Its RSJI 2014 Work Plan includes specific outreach event commitments, as well as target goals for spending on consulting and purchasing expenditures with these firms.
  • Seattle City Light is prioritizing streetlight upgrades in historically underserved areas such as the Holly Park SHA residential neighborhood in order to provide safer electrical systems and to ensure streets are well-lit at night.
  • The utility also provides free interpreter services for customers as well as offers translated printed information in Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, Somali, Tagalog, Korean and other languages commonly used among City Light customers. As part of the RSJI 2014 Work Plan, City Light will continue to host community meetings and focus groups designed for historically underrepresented communities, all of which are supported by interpretation and translation services.

City Light supports a number of other programs and initiatives designed to alleviate inequity including the Utility Discount Program and Project Share.

The Seattle Race and Social Justice Initiative began in 2004. At the time, no other US city had so directly focused on institutional racism and working to improve racial equity. Seattle was the first city in the nation to explicitly focus on undoing institutional racism. Institutional racism is defined by the city of Seattle Office for Civil Rights as the policies, practices and procedures that often unintentionally or inadvertently work to the benefit of certain groups and to the detriment of others.

More information about Seattle City Light’s Race and Social Justice Initiative efforts can be found on our website. For more details about the City of Seattle’s efforts to achieve racial equity, please click here.