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Seattle Electricity Rates Poised To Go Up, Up, Up

Liz Jones

If you live in Seattle, take a look at the cost of your next electricity bill. It may be one of the lowest you'll see for several years.

The Seattle City Council is scheduled to vote Monday on the first in a series of proposed rate increases.


Seattle City Light's strategic plan calls for a rate hike of about 30 percent over the next six years. For the average Seattle household, the annual bill in 2018 would be about $200 more than it is now.

Monday, the City Council is expected to approve rates for just the first two years of that plan. City officials say the increases are needed to maintain service levels and pay for key investments. That includes a new substation near South Lake Union to serve that growing area.

City Council Member Mike O'Brien says the city's also launched a pilot program to help low–income families manage these increases.

O'Brien: "And make sure that they understand all the tools available, whether it's changing out light bulbs or better energy efficiency in their home, that they have the resources to makes some of those investments to lower their bills."

Compared to the general population, O'Brien says low–income families tend to use more energy. That's because they often have larger families or live in older, less efficient buildings.

He also says a lot of low–income people who are eligible for the city's rate reduction program don't know about it. So, the city's also boosting efforts to get them signed up.

If approved, this next rate increase would start in January.

I'm Liz Jones, KUOW News.

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