MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Electric bills will rise in 2024, Seattle City Light says

Dec 29, 2023, 12:29 PM | Updated: Jan 2, 2024, 12:51 pm

Seattle City Light says customers should expect to see a 10% increase in their bills. (Getty Images...

Seattle City Light says customers should expect to see a 10% increase in their bills. (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Seattle City Light says customers will be getting an unwanted surprise in their electric bills come January.

The utility announced a nearly 10% rate increase for all customers beginning January 1, 2024.

“We know rate increases are never good news,” Seattle City Light CFO Kirsty Grainger told KIRO 7.

The increase includes:

    • A 4.5% base rate increase approved by the Seattle City Council
    • A 1% surcharge to cover higher costs from the Bonneville Power Administration (PBA) in 2024A 4% Rate Stabilization Account (RSA) surcharge due to increased net wholesale power costs resulting from unfavorable weather and market price conditions

The average residential customer will see an increase of about $9 per month ($18 per bimonthly billing cycle). Customers enrolled in the Utility Discount Program (UDP) will see an estimated $4 monthly increase on average. The BPA passthrough and RSA surcharge are an estimated $4 monthly increase on average.

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“Having to buy power, that’s kind of a scary thought — that it’s not able — we’re not able to produce it because our environment is not working the same way it used to,” SCL customer Julia Montee said.

Seattle City Light says it does have help available like flexible payment plans and bill assistance programs for those who qualify.

“Nine dollars seems like pretty significant. Just like considering that’s like a pretty large hike and then think about like in a year what that would add up to,” Montee said. “I’m lucky that I’m in a position to be able to pay that but I definitely think about other people where your money has to stretch like so far.”

Pilot program: Seattle City Light adding EV charging stations as pilot program

Grainger said they did everything they could to avoid this, including making two $30 million deposits into the emergency fund, but it still wasn’t enough.

“At this point, we’re at the financial situation where this is what we have to do to refill the RSA,” Grainger said.

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