Residential Rates

City Light rates are more affordable compared to many cities in the country because we're a public, not-for-profit utility and we primarily rely on low-cost, renewable, carbon-free hydroelectricity. We focus on providing stable, predictable rates that allow us to deliver sustainable, reliable, and affordable service.

Your bill charges include:

  1. Base Service Charge: This is a charge you are billed regardless of your energy usage to cover costs associated with billing and customer service operations.
  2. Energy Charge: The portion of your bill based on the energy (kWh) consumed during the billing period. There are 2 block rates you may see on your bill:
    • 1st block – the lower rate you will pay for the first 10 kWh used per day in a summer month (April-September) and the first 16 kWh used per day in a winter month (October-March).  When your bill period crosses over from summer to winter, or vice versa, the amounts are prorated by the number of days on that seasonal rate. Most residential customers are billed bi-monthly at approximately 60 days per billing cycle. 
    • 2nd block – a slightly higher rate charged after you’ve reached the maximum on the 1st block rate.

Helpful Definitions

  • Watt: a measurement of the rate of electricity use, the most common unit of measurement is 1,000 watts, or 1 kilowatt (kW)
  • Kilowatt‐hour (kWh): a measure of the flow of electricity over an hour – 10, 100‐watt lights on for 1 hour = 1 kWh

Current Residential Rates

Seattle, Normandy Park, Renton, Unincorp. King CountyTukwilaBurien, Lake Forest Park, Seatac, Shoreline
Base service charge per day $0.1851 $0.1987 $0.1999
1st block per kWh* $0.0999 $0.1090 $0.1096
2nd block per kWh $0.1326 $0.1410 $0.1418

*1st block equals 300 kWh per month from April-September and 480 kWh per month from October-March.

Residential Undergrounding Rates

Burien and Shoreline elected to underground distribution lines on some of their arterial streets. Instead of the jurisdiction paying for the work upfront, the undergrounding cost is recovered from all customers in that jurisdiction via a kWh undergrounding charge according to the table below:

Burien Undergrounding Rates
First Ave South 1 per kWh $0.0037
First Ave South 2 per kWh $0.0013

Shoreline Undergrounding Rates
North City per kWh $0.0007
Aurora 1 per kWh $0.0017
Aurora 2 per kWh $0.0018
Aurora 3A per kWh $0.0005
Aurora 3B per kWh $0.0022

What Your Rate Covers

We provide you electricity, but the rate you pay also covers:

  • Electricity production from City Light-owned dams
  • Efforts to keep supply and demand in balance (because electricity is difficult to store)
  • Delivery of energy to your home
  • Customer services like billing, call-center support, and outage management
  • Community benefits such as environmental programs and the low-income Utility Discount Program (UDP) that provides a 60% discount to help our neighbors who need a little extra help

The average rate you pay is about 10 cents per kWh and this is where it goes:

Pie chart showing a breakdown of where customer rates go

How Our Rates Compare

City Light offers low rates for clean, carbon-neutral power. While some cities get their power at lower rates, they often rely on carbon-emitting coal and natural gas. City Light provides mostly carbon-free hydropower and was the first utility in the nation to be 100% carbon-neutral. That means you benefit from green power at an affordable price.

map of US comparing City Light rates to other cities

*Rates are rounded and sourced from the EEI Summer 2019 Report or directly from each utility. 

City Light rates are well below the average rate of 12 cents for the top 25 largest cities in the US. Of the utilities serving the cities represented on the map, we are the only utility providing more than 80% carbon-free hydroelectricity and carbon-neutral operations.