In case you missed it, Seattle City Light raised electrical rates again on January 1st, 2024.
While our electricity is some of the cleanest and least expensive in the country, the costs are steadily increasing for all utilities. It’s important to note that Seattle City Light, (SCL) is a governmental utility and not for profit, so there is no incentive for the agency to raise rates any more than necessary, as it’s taxpayer owned.
Some of the rate increase is due to general inflationary costs (labor, materials) but another factor is that our hydropower system is subject to rainfall variability. This is one of the reasons Seattle City Light cites for its need to increase it’s rates. When our hydropower resources are limited because of lower than typical rainfall and snowpack, Seattle City Light must purchase additional power from the wholesale market. (FYI, solar production is actually more predictable on an annual basis than wind or hydropower.)
As we dug into the numbers and looked at recent Seattle City Light electrical rates, we noticed some interesting trends …
SCL Rate Increases Hit Smaller Users Harder
The base daily charge and the Tier 1 rate have both been increasing faster than the Tier 2 rate, with the net effect that the size of the bill has been increasing quite a bit faster for small users than for big users, starting around 2017.
2010 to 2024 Seattle City Light Residential Bill Comparison
Since 2010, electrical rates have increased for all levels of usage but less so for those who consume the most electricity.
Some Customers’ SCL Rates Nearly Doubled Since 2016
The most dramatic comparison is 2016 vs 2024. The bill for low users has nearly doubled, while that for big users has only risen by ~17%.
Use Solar PV To Stop Escalating Electrical Costs
If your plan was to keep buying electricity from the grid until something better came along, well, that time is now.
Utility rates are not going to stop rising, and the price of going solar is lower than it’s ever been.
Check out our sample quote (with three different system sizes) to get a sense of what solar could do for you. Better yet, fill out our Free Quote form below and we’ll give you a free, custom solar quote based off of your roof and electrical needs. We promise to not pressure you and to give you information so you can make an informed decision.