New Customer Information and Billing System

In early September, Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities will implement a new customer information and billing system. For several weeks after launch, we anticipate longer than normal wait times if you call our customer service line, while staff become familiar with the new system.

If the information below does not answer some of your questions, you may call us at (206) 684-3000. Please be prepared for longer hold times. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

What is this new system?

Seattle Public Utilities and Seattle City Light are launching a new customer information and billing system, which will replace the existing 15-year-old system.

Why are you replacing the current customer information and billing system?

The old system has lasted 5 years beyond its expected life and is no longer supported by the vendor. Replacing the outdated existing system is critical to continued operations; if the old, unsupported billing system were to fail, it would result in a significant loss in revenues – potentially up to $5 million a day.

What does this new system mean for me as a customer?

The most visible impact to customers is that your Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities account numbers will change.

The new billing system will automatically generate new account numbers, which can be identified on billing statements beginning September 6. You will still receive your bill on your regular billing cycle, so there is no need to do anything until you receive your next bill with the updated account number.

What do I need to know now?

Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities account numbers will be changing and are different for each utility. Your account number will be identified in the upper left hand corner on the first bill that you receive from our new billing system as shown in these examples.

Seattle City Light account number


Seattle Public Utilities account number


To ensure proper credit to your account, if you:

  • Pay by check or in person, include the payment stub with your new account number.
  • Pay by autopay eBilling, you don’t have to do anything. Your new account number will be automatically reflected.
  • Pay through one-time payment at our website or use our pay-by-phone option, please enter your new account number.
  • Pay through your bank or a third-party payment service, please update this information with your new account number.

There will be a 130-day grace period, which will allow customers to make payments using their old account number. After that time, payments will need to be made with your new account number to ensure your account is credited appropriately. Failure to use your new account number could delay your payment from posting, and you may incur a late payment fee as a result.

Why does my Utility Discount Program bill look different?

In the old system, your bill was calculated based on a special rate tied to the Utility Discount Program (UDP) that reflected the 60% (Seattle City Light) or 50% (Seattle Public Utilities) discount. In the old bill, you didn’t see your actual charges; you only saw the final discounted amount.

Your new bill will show the actual cost of your utilities based on current residential, non-discounted rates, minus the discounted amount. This will result in the same bill amount, but will look different.

City Light bills for UDP customers can come in one of two different versions. If you pay both City Light and Seattle Public Utilities, you will only see the City Light electric discount on your City Light bill (shown as Utility Discount Program savings). Your discounts for Seattle Public Utilities will show on the bill you receive from SPU. If you don’t pay Seattle Public Utilities separately, your City Light bill will reflect discounts for electric, water and sewer. Even if you don’t pay water and sewer, you are still eligible for discounts.

Utility Discount Program credits on City Light bill


Utility Discount Program credits on Public Utilities bill


If you have questions or think you may be eligible for the Utility Discount Program, call (206) 684-3417.

Seattle Public Utilities solid waste bills look different

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) has updated the format of the Solid Waste Service section in its bills to be more readable. Services will be clearly lined up with service dates, and each line item—Garbage, Recycling, Food and Yard Waste—will now display information on container size and frequency of pickup.

Old format for solid waste service


New format for solid waste service


Seattle City Light solar customer bills look different

Learn more about changes to the net and production metering bill for solar customers.

What do “Late Payment Charge” or “Previously Unbilled Charges” under Adjustments mean?

Your first new bill may show new messages like “Late Payment Charge” or “Previously Unbilled Charges” under the Adjustments section of your bill. These two categories will be used to capture any charges and adjustments that occurred in the old billing system, but have not yet been billed to you.

Late Payment Charge: If you see a Late Payment Charge line item on your first bill, it means that your account was assessed a late fee in the old billing system, but was not billed to you before we converted to the new billing system.

Previously Unbilled Charges: If you see a Previously Unbilled Charges line item on your first bill, the amount reflected includes all charges, other than Late Payment Charges, that were entered in the old billing system, but billed in the new billing system. Examples of these charges are Billing Adjustments Credit/Debit, Extra Garbage/Yard Waste, Late Payment Removal, Account Setup Fee, and Field Visit Fee.

What does RATES INCLUDE A 1.5% RSA SURCHARGE IN EFFECT AS OF AUGUST 1ST, 2016 on my City Light bill mean?

This surcharge is not associated with the new billing system. Low revenue triggered a 1.5% surcharge on electricity rates, starting in August. The typical residential bill sees an increase of about $1 per month. To make up the difference between what was expected in the budget and actual revenue, City Light draws from a rate stabilization account (RSA). When the account dips to $90 million or below, a 1.5% surcharge is automatically applied to every customer’s bill until the account is refilled to $100 million. For details, please read our Power Lines post about the electricity surcharge.

I am a Budget Billing customer. What changes can I expect with my bill?

As a Budget Billing customer, you will no longer receive a Budget Billing Interim Notice if you are a customer who elects to pay half of your budget billing amount by the due date of the bill and the other half the following month.

You will still have the option to pay half of your budget billing amount by the due date of the bill and the other half the following month. However, the absence of the Budget Billing Interim Notice means you will no longer have a bill stub to send in with your payment.

If you plan to send your payment via U.S. mail, please make sure that your new account number is included with your payment. A bill stub is not needed if you plan to make an electronic or in-person payment, as you will only need your new account number for these payment methods.

What if I still have questions?

If you still have questions, call our Contact Center at (206) 684-3000.

We may experience longer than normal call volumes during the transition to the new system. We’ll do our best to help you promptly.

Video: You have a new account number

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