Fall at Skagit Hydroelectric Project, Photo by Kevin Lidtka
Seattle City Light LARRY WEIS, General Manager and CEO
Frequently Asked Questions
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What are demand charges?

Demand charges are the portion of a customer's bill for electric service based upon the peak electric capacity (in kilowatts) demanded or required by power-consuming equipment. Utilities like Seattle City Light collect demand charges to maintain infrastructure which ensures reliable power during times of peak usage.

Why have demand charges increased for City Light's Downtown Network?

Demand charges are driven by infrastructure costs. The marginal costs of equipment, labor and network design—essential elements of power infrastructure—have all risen in recent years. The costs associated with maintaining City Light substations and installing ducts and vaults for the Downtown Network have also gone up. Additionally, the portion of distribution costs recovered through the demand charge for Downtown Network customers was increased from 15 percent to 20 percent, the same portion of distribution costs customers outside of the Downtown Network have been paying.

How much have demand charges for Downtown Network risen?

City Light's 2017 retail rates included higher peak demand charges for Downtown Network customers, increasing from $4.54 to $7.48 per kW for medium customers and $4.05 to $7.62 per kW for large customers.

How will this impact bills for my building?

Customers with steady use (high load factor) will see lower bill impacts, and customers with more intermittent use (low load factor) will generally see higher bill impacts. The average bill increase expected for 2017 is about 4 percent for medium customers and about 5 percent for large customers in the Downtown Network. These percentage increases are consistent with the rest of City Light’s service territory. While demand charges (per kW) have increased, energy charges (per kWh) have decreased, providing a billing offset. Downtown Network energy charges decreased by 4.2 percent for medium customers and decreased by 4.3 percent for large customers.

How does the demand charge increase compare to the charges from other utilities?

City Light's 2017 demand charges for Downtown Network customers are very competitive even when compared with non-network customers at other utilities.

Utility Demand Charges

Demand (kW) SCL 2017 Adopted Non-Network SCL 2017 Adopted Network Snohomish PUD Tacoma Power PSE Winter PSE Summer
10 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
500 $3.36 $7.48 $4.95* $7.50 $13.36 9.31
5,000 $3.05 $7.62 $4.95* $7.50 $13.36 9.31
20,000 $3.05   $4.95* $7.50 $13.36 9.31
*The first 100 kW per month of billing demand are free

How can I budget for the new demand charges?

To see how your City Light bill might change with the new demand charges, pick an exemplary month from 2016 (energy use varies greatly depending upon time of year) and use this bill calculator to approximate what it will be in 2017.

To see examples of potential bill changes, consider the charts below for medium and large customers.

Medium General Service - Network Rates, Monthly Bill Impacts
Customer
Description
Load
Factor
Annual
kW
Annual
kWh
Monthly Bill
2016
Monthly Bill
2017
Change % Monthly Bill
2018
Change %
Boutique 21% 776 207,160 $1,730 $1,860 7.5% $1,967 5.8%
Theater 29% 3,880 946,080 $8,028 $8,702 8.4% $9,197 5.7%
Real Estate 36% 7,682 2,547,600 $20,570 $21,708 5.5% $22,998 5.9%
Hotel 42% 2,503 1,070,640 $8,370 $8,671 3.6% $9,202 6.1%
Shopping Center 44% 7,975 3,428,400 $26,788 $27,741 3.6% $29,439 6.1%
Bank 49% 1,133 466,400 $3,662 $3,804 3.9% $4,036 6.1%
Office Building 66% 1,261 519,900 $4,082 $4,239 3.9% $4,497 6.1%
Hotel 69% 9,901 5,572,800 $42,384 $43,184 1.9% $45,895 6.3%


Large General Service - Network Rates, Monthly Bill Impacts
Customer
Description
Load
Factor
Annual
kW
Annual
kWh
Monthly Bill
2016
Monthly Bill
2017
Change % Monthly Bill
2018
Change %
Event Space 20% 12,559 3,005,102 $24,512 $27,360 12% $28,896 5.6%
Retail/Office Tower 30% 43,443 12,810,465 $103,694 $112,738 9% $119,294 5.8%
Office Tower 43% 27,507 9,338,622 $73,606 $78,981 7% $83,657 5.9%
Retail Store 49% 27,292 11,157,363 $85,704 $90,479 6% $95,955 6.1%
Hotel 67% 24,093 13,113,897 $95,011 $98,348 4% $104,468 6.2%
Data Center 84% 37,314 24,718,431 $173,656 $177,625 2% $188,863 6.3%


Where can I get more details about City Light’s rates and the rate-setting process?

Visit our rate details page.
Current Rates

Click here to find current rates by jurisdiction and customer class.

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Question about your bill?
Email SCL_Respond@seattle.gov

Question about rates?
Email
SCL_Rates@seattle.gov

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