The Seattle City Light rate change idea (not yet a proposal) is being presented for stakeholder feedback at various forums around the city including downtown property owners/managers, major accounts, advocacy groups, and the general public. SCL’s idea is to remodel its rate approach to collect a greater percentage of the utility’s fixed costs through more basic service charges and increases in the cost of peak energy use. This shift has the concurrent effect of lowering the utility’s kWh cost. At the conclusion of stakeholder input, SCL will evaluate the course of its rate recommendation to the City Council later this spring for the Council’s adoption of 2014-2015 rates.
In a separate action, SCL informed the City Council earlier this week that the trigger of its surcharge was likely sometime in 2014 due to the anticipated depletion of its Rate Stabilization Account (RSA). The RSA was created to buffer the utility from variances in its net wholesale revenue budget projections. Low wholesale power revenues will likely persist in the short term, requiring a 1.5% surcharge in rates for all customers and stay in effect until the RSA fund is replenished. In one of her first meetings as Chair of the Seattle City Council Energy Committee, Councilmember Kshama Sawant was widely quoted in the media saying she wants "big corporations" and not "working families" to pay the surcharge.