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City of Seattle
Gregory J. Nickels (former Mayor)

SUBJECT: City expands utilities assistance

3/11/2009  12:00:00 PM

City expands utilities assistance
Program cuts utility bills in half for thousands of residents

City expands utilities assistance, March 11, 2009

SEATTLE - Mayor Greg Nickels today highlighted changes to the city’s utility rate assistance programs that will help even more residents with their electric and water bills. Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities now use a single eligibility standard, which is expected to increase participation in the program by up to 5 percent, or about 1,000 residents.

The Low-Income Rate Assistance program offers families of four with an annual income of $53,124 or less, a 50 percent reduction in utility bills for up to 18 months. Residents can then re-apply for additional assistance.

“We know this economic downturn is hitting families hard, and we want to help,” said Nickels. “This program cuts utility bills in half for thousands of residents, giving lower income residents a break when they need it most.”

Residents can apply for utility assistance and other benefits by going to community organizations, such as Southwest Seattle Youth and Family Services in Delridge. For a list of locations and times, go to:

Residents also may receive an application and assistance for the Low-Income Rate Assistance program by calling 206-684-0268. At that same number, callers can receive information about weatherization programs, childcare assistance, health insurance, food assistance, tax help, and job training.

Currently, about 11,000 households receive rate assistance from City Light, and about 9,600 households get a rate break from Seattle Public Utilities.

Under the program changes that went into effect on Feb. 25, Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities now use a single eligibility standard: 70 percent of state median income. Previously, while the utilities offered rate assistance, they used different eligibility standards for low-income residents, senior citizens, and the disabled. Residents in subsidized housing are not eligible.

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