Seattle City Light asked its customers to stop being so wasteful with energy and they took their advice. Now, City Light’s customers are being punished.
In an effort to help save the environment, Seattle City Light, along with city leaders, asked residents to be better energy consumers. They recommended taking their home energy audit to figure out how wasteful residents were being, asked that they use energy efficient electronics, and offered to help recycle energy-eating refrigerators.
Seattle City Light is now facing a $133 million revenue shortfall. You see, they didn’t think people would actually follow their advice and had planned for that $133 million in their budget. They have reserves at their disposal in the case of such a shortfall. However, that account is running low. When it drops below $90 million, customers get hit with a 1.5 percent surcharge.
This is maddening and horrible management. How bad can their forecasting for energy demand be that they’d be off by upwards of 4 percent? Seattle’s residential communities account for 57 percent of the lost revenue.
This seems to be a growing trend in Seattle and King County. You have well-intentioned and worthwhile advice coming from government officials, yet they don’t seem to plan well enough to handle the consequences of following their advice. We saw this recently when King County Metro urged commuters to use their park and ride service, but then forgot to build enough parking.
Seattlites shouldn’t be forced to pay a surcharge for taking city advice. If City Light isn’t ready for the consequences of our changing habits, stop trying to get us to change.