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Are You Eligible to Save Money on Heat and Water?

Senior Man Wearing Extra Clothes With Hot Drink Trying To Keep Warm At Home In Energy Crisis
Last month, in my inaugural AgeWise article, I introduced a topic that’s near and dear to my heart: affordability. This month and next, I want to share information about programs that can save some households hundreds of dollars every month. This month, let’s talk about the services that keep your lights on and your water running—utilities.

Did you know that income-eligible households can get a truly significant discount on their Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities bills? Eligible households receive a 60 percent discount on their Seattle City Light bills and 50 percent discount on their Seattle Public Utilities bills. Eligibility is based on total household income and the number of people who live under the same roof.

screenshot of a youtube video explaining the utility discount program.

Need help paying utility bills? The City of Seattle’s Utility Assistance Program can help. Click on the image above to watch a brief video about the money you can save.

If you haven’t looked at Seattle’s Utility Discount Program before, now is a very good time to do so, when you are also gathering financial documents for your federal income tax return. And please keep in mind that this is a discount that eligible households deserve to receive. I’ve heard older people say that they don’t want to apply for assistance of any kind. Well, this is a DISCOUNT and in paying your utility bills in the past, you have paid for many years to help other people receive this discount.

Seattle’s Utility Discount Program is administered by the Seattle Human Services Department—the same department that hosts Aging and Disability Services, the Area Agency on Aging for Seattle and King County. I can tell you that they WANT you to apply and take advantage of this program. It’s one way you can save money and better afford to continue living in the home and community you know and love.

Learn more about the Utility Discount Program at, including eligibility guidelines and the application process, and be sure to read the Frequently Asked Questions. There’s also a UDP Quick Start Guide that can help. A paper application is available to download; however, you are encouraged to apply online.

Don’t live in Seattle? Oil or gas service?

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally funded program that makes an energy assistance grant directly to the energy provider on behalf of an eligible household. LIHEAP may also help repair or replace an unsafe, dysfunctional, and inoperative heating or cooling system in some situations.

LIHEAP assistance is now available year-round. You may now be eligible to receive assistance once every 12 months. There are several ways to access LIHEAP:

  • City of Seattle customers can call 800-756-5437 (Public Health—Seattle & King County CHAP Line) for assistance. Applications are processed by the Byrd Barr Place.
  • If you live outside of the Seattle:
    • In South King County, call the Multi-Service Center at 253-517-2263.
    • In North King County (north of NE 145th St) & East King County, call Hopelink at 425-658-2592.

The Puget Sound Energy (PSE) Home Energy Lifeline Program (HELP) provides assistance for residential PSE customers to help pay electric or natural gas bills. If you qualify, you can receive a bill credit of up to $1,000. You must apply at a local service agency based on your location. To find out if you qualify, use the links above.

Also, if you live outside of Seattle, it would be a good idea to go to your city’s website and click on the “Utilities Department” page to see if they have a rate reduction program, which is usually for people age 62 or older or those with a permanent disability.  Or give your City Hall information desk a call.  You may be surprised that you are eligible for additional discounts.

Weatherization services reduce energy costs

I know this is a lot of information to absorb but I would be remiss in not mentioning that services are available to help reduce energy costs through weatherization services. Read about programs that the City of Seattle and King County offer in “Don’t Wait to be Comfortable and Safe in Your Own Home” (AgeWise King County).

To reiterate an earlier point, there’s a way that eligible households can save a significant amount of money on utilities. I can highly recommend programs that help thousands of older adults live more comfortably and live independently for as long as possible.

Alex O'ReillyContributor Alex O’Reilly chairs the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services. She welcomes input from readers via e-mail (


A group picture of the Aging and Disability Services Advisory council taken in May 2023.

Mark Your Calendars

Following are upcoming events in which ADS Advisory Council members will participate:

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