A new Seattle City Council plan would give thousands more people a discount on utilities. Two bills to do that were advanced at the committee level on Tuesday.
Currently, people who live in federally subsidized housing are excluded from Seattle's Utility Discount Program (UDP). The legislation would change that and automatically enroll them for discounts.
Councilmember Kshama Sawant proposed the idea, with support from colleagues like Mike O'Brien.
As they voted it through committees Tuesday, O’Brien said: “This is great work, it's great to help alleviate folks that are living in poverty, and I just think it's going to be an outstanding step forward for so many folks that will benefit from it."
The full council still needs to approve the plan.
It would enroll 10,000 more residents in the utility discount program, making the total 30,000 in the UDP. That surpasses Mayor Ed Murray’s goal to have 28,000 enrolled by 2018.
The council legislation would also mean rate increases for the majority of customers. Seattle Public Utilities estimates it would add $13 a year to the average utility bill (an average 0.62 percent increase). Seattle City Light estimates a 0.5 percent increase.