Mayor proposes Seattle City Light rate increase over 6 years

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on May 7, 2012 at 7:49 AM

Updated Monday, May 7 at 3:30 PM

Seattle City Light customers may have to pay more power. Mayor Mike McGinn has proposed a six-year strategic plan that includes roughly a 4.7 percent increase for at least two years.

For the average customer, what that means is an extra $35 a year or about $3 a month.  On Monday, McGinn said he wants to eliminate the rate peaks and valleys, so consumers know what's in store. He said he refuses to play politics and that things have to dealt with now.

Instead letting residents and businesses know what they're in for.

City Light said the money will go to many things, like replacing aging infrastructure, more training for employees and a new $200 million dollar substation in South Lake Union, which would be the first one built in 30 years.

The mayor said this will ensure that computer dependent companies in the downtown area will not experience outages that could be financially devastating for them.   He said reliable power is necessary to compete in the world economy.

But some big businesses, like Boeing, have made it apparent in the past they don't appreciate the rate hikes, which for them amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars. McGinn said he understands and actually sat down with Boeing leaders.

“I think we're going to have a dialogue about that, companies that use high electricity but are good employers with good wages. Should they have a different set of rates? I think it's one of the questions we're going to have to ask ourselves,” said McGinn.

This plan also builds in how City Light can improve efficiency. They plan to save $18 million. The rate increase is not final yet. It still has yet to be approved by the Seattle City Council and would begin next year.

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