Behind on your utility bills? City’s shutoff moratorium has expired, but help might be available

The pandemic moratorium on city utility shutoffs has expired. So if you’re behind, you can’t just let it slide and hope nothing will happen – you’re urged to seek help. Here’s the announcement explaining how:

Seattle City Light (SCL) and Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) today announced new flexible payment plans and expanded assistance for customers who are struggling to pay their bills. Customers are urged to visit or contact the utilities immediately to learn more about their options. Both utilities offer flexible payment plans with no late fees for all customers, and for income-eligible residential customers, significant discounts and emergency assistance money are available.

“We know many of our customers face economic uncertainty that has been exacerbated by the pandemic,” said Andrew Lee, Interim General Manager and CEO of Seattle Public Utilities. “We are taking steps to ensure our customers are aware that assistance is available. We encourage any customer who is behind on their utility bill to contact us today for assistance.”

Approximately 8,500 SPU residential customers and 36,000 SCL residential customers are behind on paying their utility bills. About 1,200 SPU commercial customers and 4,000 SCL commercial customers are in arrears.

While the City of Seattle moratorium on utility shutoffs expired on Friday, April 15, SCL and SPU are focused on proactively engaging with delinquent customers to help them access assistance to get current on their bills. SPU and SCL will be communicating directly to customers who are in arrears to make sure they’re aware of resources available to them before beginning the process of shutoffs for non-payment. Customers who remain current on their payment plan and current bill will not be at risk for shutoff. Customers at risk of having their services shut off will receive additional, direct communications prior to a shutoff taking place.

“Many customers have struggled financially and made tough decisions about which bills to pay. We want them to know that there are options to help get them back on track and alleviate some of the stress through flexible payment plans or assistance programs,” said Debra Smith, General Manager and CEO at Seattle City Light. “Our aim is to get customers to a place where they aren’t facing shutoff for non-payment when the process resumes. We’re here for you and want to help.”

Residential customers can visit or call 206-684-3000 to set up a flexible payment plan and to find out what assistance is available to them. The City’s Utility Discount Program offers discounts of 60% off electric bills and 50% off water, sewage and solid waste bills for income-eligible residential customers. Utility representatives will also let customers know what types of emergency assistance money might be available to them.

Commercial customers who are behind on their utility bills may also sign up for payment plans. They are encouraged to visit, call (206) 684-3000 or contact their SPU or SCL representative directly for assistance.

To learn about other assistance for customers financially impacted by Covid, including those seeking assistance to avoid eviction, please visit City of Seattle resources.

1 Reply to "Behind on your utility bills? City's shutoff moratorium has expired, but help might be available"

  • Peasant May 4, 2022 (11:36 am)

    Hi all. I was super stoked when I saw this and signed up maybe a day or two after this article was posted. I had been paying on my light bill this entire time(sometimes 3 times a month) but alas it was not enough for the CEO(having a CEO for providing citizens electricity is insane to me but I digress). I received an email this morning saying I was accepted. I was extremely excited until I saw the stipulations of my payment plan(which they don’t tell you until after you sign up). So I have to pay a monthly fee now plus my new balance in full every time it shows up. I couldn’t catch up before, and now I am in a worse situation than before. I’m here to suggest to fellow residence NOT to sign up for the payment plan UNLESS you receive a discontinuation letter or else you will end up like me..paying more for a bill you couldn’t catch up with in the first place. Hopefully I can stop at least a couple people from falling for this. Thanks again WSB for every thing! 

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