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Utility Bills: We Can Help You Get Current and Stay Current

At Seattle Human Services, we know that some people struggle to keep the lights on and the water flowing. Light, heat, and water are essential for health and well-being, and money is precious for other necessities, such as food and medications. So, we partner with Seattle’s two utilities—Seattle City Light (electricity) and Seattle Public Utilities (water/sewer/garbage)—to help those who are struggling to get current and stay current with utility bills.

Both utilities have emergency assistance programs that can help eligible households get current on your utility bills. Seattle Human Services administers a Utility Discount Program on behalf of both utilities that can help eligible households stay caught up.

Utility Discount Program offers 50%–60% discounts

Visit our Utility Discount Program website at to find out if your household qualifies to receive a 60 percent discount on Seattle City Light bills and a 50 percent discount on Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) bills. Eligibility depends on your household size and gross income of all household members. If your household is approved for enrollment in the Utility Discount Program, your bills will be discounted back to the date of applying for the program–so apply today

Note that Seattle Human Services provides Utility Discount Program information in Amharic, Chinese, Korean, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese, too.

Emergency Assistance Programs help with past-due balances

The City of Seattle offers two emergency assistance programs for utility customers—one at Seattle City Light, the other at Seattle Public Utilities. These programs can help you catch up. In 2022, eligible households can receive up to $1000 in emergency assistance funds toward past-due amounts on their Seattle City Light accounts, and up to $954 for Seattle Public Utilities. Emergency utility assistance funds are available on a calendar-year basis- so apply today before the year ends!  Check your household’s eligibility and learn more here: Home – Utility Assistance Program |

Streamlined service through new online application portal

Recently, the process for residential customers seeking utility bill assistance was streamlined. City Light and SPU customers can now sign up for the Utility Discount Program and Emergency Bill Assistance using the new Utility Assistance Programs Application, a single online application that launched Aug. 29. In the first week and a half it was live, the application received 461 logins with 383 customer applications for utility assistance.

Questions about paying your utility bills

The two utilities have published a list of frequently asked questions that can answer a lot of your questions (click here) and provide web links and phone numbers if you need additional help. We’re here to help.

Contributor Alyson McLean-Wright is a strategic advisor in Seattle Human Services’ Youth and Family Empowerment division, which administers the Utility Discount Program on behalf of Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities.

Do you live in King County outside of the Seattle City Light service area? Visit “Energy assistance programs for King County residents” (King County), “Energy, Water, Sewer, and Cooling Assistance” (Multi-Service Center/ South King County), or “Energy Programs” (Hopelink/North and East King County). 

Posted in Discounts