Seattle’s city government offers utility assistance to its needy residents.
Seattle’s city government offers residents several programs to help them subsidize and pay for their utility bills. The energy assistance programs help the city’s low-income residents, disabled adults and senior citizens unable to afford utility services by reducing their total monthly utility bills and providing energy repair services. Eligible residents should apply through the city government and be able to provide income documentation as proof of income.
Seattle Utility Discount Program
This program provides low-income, disabled adults and seniors with a 50 percent reduction in their utility bills. Income limits depend upon household total income. The income limits change Jan. 1 of every year and are based upon 70 percent of the median state income guidelines. Total income limits include disability, social security, unemployment and veterans’ compensation. Income also includes income received through retirement benefits, income from wages and any investment income. Residents who live in subsidized housing or receive Section 8 benefits and vouchers do not qualify for this program.
Central Area Motivation Federal Energy Program
The Central Area Motivation Federal Energy Program, or CAMP, includes several low-income energy programs for Seattle residents. Seattle uses federal funding allowances to help low-income families pay for their heating costs, limited to $1,000 annually per family. It also helps families pay for replacement and repair costs of their heating systems, limited to $5,000. Residents may qualify for additional assistance to repair their windows or replace their broken windows up to $1,000. Residents can also receive financial help, up to $1,000 annually, for natural gas payment assistance. The CAMP programs use income guidelines to determine eligibility.
Seattle City Lights Program
Residents who receive shutoff letters from the local utility company or are financially unable to pay their utility bills may qualify for this emergency utility assistance program for both electricity and water-sewage bills. The program pays half of the past due amounts limited to $200 annually for eligible families. The Seattle City Lights program also implements “Project Share,” a bill payment assistance program providing assistance to needy citizens with maximum assistance limits of $500 annually. The water-sewage program helps city utility customers pay for half of their past-due delinquencies limited to $200 annually.
HomeWise Weatherization Program
Seattle homeowners who meet income qualification guidelines can receive free weatherization services. These services include duct insulation, sealing, caulking and safety services. Services also include furnace repairs, venting and pipe insulation. The repairs help conserve energy and reduce residents’ future utility costs. The 2010 income limits depend upon monthly household income prior to taxes. The limits specifically depend upon the types of weatherization services the city provides, and residents can request a prescreening determination of eligibility.
Other Seattle Energy Assistance Programs
Seattle provides various other energy assistance programs to its low-income residents. The city offers free water-saving toilets for limited-income families who own toilets manufactured prior to 1994. These water-saving toilets help typical families save about $140 annually in water usage costs. Seattle also provides cable television discount rates for senior citizens, disabled adults and residence living in publicly subsidized housing.