Utility Discount Program

Strengthening the Utility Discount Program

The Utility Discount Program (UDP) helps you get current and stay current on utility payments by offering a discount of about 60% on your Seattle City Light bill and a 50% discount on your Seattle Public Utilities bill.

Seattle has one of the strongest utility discount programs in the country; however, of the estimated 72,000 Seattle residents who qualify for this important program, only 14,000 were enrolled at the beginning of the year.

Mayor Murray has directed city departments to double enrollment in this program over the next four years as part of his efforts to make sure Seattle is affordable for its working families.

An interdepartmental team has delivered an action plan with recommendations aimed at doubling enrollment by creating a program that is well-known, easy to navigate, and simple to enroll in. The mayor has directed these departments to begin implementing this report’s recommendations, and we are already beginning to see positive results. In January, roughly 14,000 customers were enrolled in the UDP. At the end of June, more than 15,700 customers were enrolled, a 12 percent increase.

Interdepartmental Team Report: Strengthening the Program

UPD ReportOn January 29, 2014, the mayor announced a goal of increasing enrollment in the city’s Utility Discount Program to 28,000 customers by the end of 2018.

The Mayor’s Office of Policy and Innovation was tasked with convening an interdepartmental team consisting of representatives from the Human Services Department, Seattle City Light, Seattle Public Utilities, and the City Budget Office, to develop an action plan for strengthening rate assistance programs and increasing UDP enrollment.

The recommendations contained in this report are intended to meet both the mayor’s enrollment goal and create a utility assistance program that prioritizes efficiency and customer service. Although expanding the program’s reach is critical, the team acknowledges the need for reforms and innovations to improve the overall customer experience.

The interdepartmental team identified three areas of focus for reform and improvement:

  1. Recruitment/enrollment, including enhanced marketing and new customer development;
  2. Process improvements; and
  3. Customer retention.

Read the full report here

2014 Eligibility Requirements

UDP eligibility

More charts related to the UDP program, as well as to City Light and Seattle Public Utilities rates, can be found here.

How to enroll

If you meet the eligibility requirements for the Utility Discount Program, please fill out the UDP application form and mail it along with the Landlord/Tenant form and Self-Request for Records form to:

Utility Discount Program
810 3rd Avenue, Suite 350
Seattle, WA 98104

Changes will be coming to the enrollment process to make enrolling easier for the customer and more efficient for the processing department. We will update this information when those changes are complete.

If you have questions, please refer to the Human Services Department’s Frequently Asked Questions, email the UDP team at udp@seattle.gov, or call 206-684-0268 (TTY/TDD 206-233-2778). Their call-in hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Share Button
Print Friendly

Interestingly, I was told recently by a Seattle City Light representative that "This year we decided, to prevent people from inadvertently throwing out their refunds, and extra work if people want to donate their checks to help others, we are sending out letters to our customers to determine whether they wish to have a refund, donate the credit, or keep the credit on the account...  PLEASE be sure to sign the letter before you send it back. There is a 6-8 week turnaround once you mail the letter back." 

This seems very odd to me. Even the rep I talked with said " I know to you the need is immediate, but it is for each of the other people asking as well, and by the very nature of you and them being on the Utility Discount Program I know that the need is real, but the need is real for all 10,000 plus customers who we will process refunds for who are on the program."

When I replied "...a 6-8 week delay while SCL wades through extraneous letters which must be signed, similar to a check, to see if the people who ("by their very nature") have a real need of the money will want to "donate the credit". As I mentioned, we are all given a chance to donate, regardless of our financial circumstance without the need of additional special mailings" I was then told that he had "forwarded your email and the conversation to the person who is currently the lead for the team that processes these."

Perplexing overall, and should I be surprised not to have received any response at all if he escalated my query, especially after not having received my UDP check last year at all, as the amount they owe me has now mounted to over $400?


Links to the UDP application form, Landlord/Tenant form, the Self-Request for Records form, and the Frequently Asked Questions link are ALL broken.