Major Jenny Durkan Announces Innovative New Pilot Program to Reduce Energy Bills for Seattle Seniors

Under New Seattle City Light and Office of Housing Program, Almost 800 Senior Homeowners Will Be Eligible for Free Energy Efficiency Upgrades That Reduce Heating Costs

Seattle (February 14, 2018) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan today announced a new innovative joint pilot program by the Seattle Office of Housing and Seattle City Light to help senior homeowners stay warm while reducing their energy bills. Under the pilot program, senior homeowners with electric heat already receiving help with their utility bills will be notified that they can now automatically qualify for energy efficiency upgrades to their home that provide additional utility bill savings, freeing up resources to pay for other important household needs.

“Tackling our City’s affordability crisis is our top priority, and this new pilot program will put money back in the pockets of Seattle’s seniors,” said Mayor Durkan. “We must ensure that we’re trying new innovations to help longtime residents stay in Seattle and be comfortable in their homes.”

As part of the pilot, the Office of Housing and Seattle City Light will notify almost 800 senior homeowners who participate in the Utility Discount Program about their eligibility for energy-saving improvements to their home. The improvements, such as insulation and new heating systems, are made available through the Office of Housing’s HomeWise weatherization program.

“We know many Seattle seniors struggle with housing costs in our rapidly changing City,” said Steve Walker, Director of the Office of Housing. “Streamlining the approach to increase access to energy efficiency updates through HomeWise and allowing people to stay in their homes is exciting.”

Seattle City Light will pay for 100 percent of the energy efficiency upgrades for homeowners eligible for this pilot program. On average, a low-income household receiving energy efficiency improvements can save $270 a year off their utility bill before utility discounts are applied.

“We want to help these homeowners warm their houses though the cold Seattle winters with affordable and equitable access to heat. It’s an essential service we can provide to our senior community members,” said Jim Baggs, Interim General Manager and CEO of Seattle City Light.

Since 1980, the Seattle Office of Housing, in conjunction with Seattle City Light, has offered energy efficiency upgrades, helping thousands of neighbors decrease their energy bills and increase their comfort and safety. Office of Housing staff perform an audit to identify energy efficiency opportunities, hire and manage the contractor, and perform a final inspection to ensure quality work. Energy efficiency improvements are contingent upon an audit to determine upgrade needs. Some homeowners may not qualify if weatherization work is not needed or if other repairs need to be done first. If additional repairs are needed, the Office of Housing offers home repair loans and grants to help.

The Utility Discount Program provides income-qualified households a 60 percent reduction on their City Seattle Light bills and a 50 percent cut on Seattle Public Utility bills.

For more information on Office of Housing energy efficiency improvements, contact (206) 684-0244 or homewise@seattle.gov. For more information on the Utility Discount Program, contact (206) 684-0268.

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