Time-of-Day Rate Pilot Program – FAQs
Find answers to your questions
About the Program
The Residential Time-of-Day (TOD) Rate Pilot Program introduces a limited number of Seattle City Light customers to a new model of billing based on when they use electricity during the day. The pilot program will run from October 2020 through December 2022 or when opt-in TOD rates are available to all customers.
Under TOD rate billing, you may be able to save money on your electric bills by switching your energy use to “off-peak” hours of the day, which are shown in the chart below. Customers with high energy use are most likely to see lower bills with the TOD rate structure, especially if they take advantage of off-peak hour rates.
By participating in the program, you will provide valuable information to City Light about how our customers choose to manage their energy use when given additional options. What we learn from the pilot program will help us prepare to offer opt-in TOD rates to additional customers in the future in a way that best meets their needs.
How the Rates Work
With City Light’s current residential rates, each customer can use up to a certain amount of energy at a lower rate. If customers use more than this set amount of electricity, this use is charged at a higher rate. Customers also pay a small daily base service charge. For more information about our current rate structure, see the Rates page on our website.
TOD rates give customers more control over their energy bills. TOD rates are based on when a customer chooses to consume energy. Customers will pay higher electricity rates during peak hours (5:00 – 9:00 p.m.) when electricity usage in our service area is normally high. Discounted rates will be offered during off-peak hours (12:00 – 6:00 a.m.) when electricity usage is low. TOD rates also include the base service charge.
Note: For this pilot, holidays are New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day
The peak rate period coincides with City Light’s highest electrical usage for the entire service territory. Customers currently use the most electricity between 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. This higher volume puts a strain on the utility, leading to higher costs. These periods also coincide with higher electricity prices on the wholesale market where City Light both buys and sells electricity.
Check out the graphic below to find out how much different common household appliances cost to run at different times of the day. When possible, you can reduce or shift your energy use away from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Monday to Saturday, to take advantage of lower off-peak or mid-peak rates.
Your savings will depend on the amount of electricity you use and when you use it.
Don’t worry; we won’t charge you more if the TOD rate doesn’t save you money! During this pilot program, we will calculate your bill under the TOD pilot rates and the standard rates, and the lower of the two bills will be used.
Eligibility and Enrollment
To be eligible for the TOD pilot program, you must:
- Have a residential Seattle City Light account
- Have an advanced meter connected to your home. Here’s how to tell if you have an advanced meter:If you aren’t sure or if you don’t have access to your meter, apply anyway.
- Use more than an average of 750 kWh of electricity per month (your two-month bill would be $184 or higher on average)
- Not participate in the Utility Discount Program or have net metering
Ideal candidates for this program are:
- Customers with above-average electricity consumption who are willing to shift their electricity use to less expensive time periods
- Electric vehicle owners who can program their vehicle charging
Click here to fill out the online form to sign up. Enrollment will close on October 8, 2020.
Yes, this pilot program is limited to 200 eligible participants. Enrollment will be open September 24–October 8, 2020, and after that City Light staff will verify final eligibility of applicants and select the 200 participants for the program at random.
No. Anyone who meets the program requirements above is eligible. Electric vehicle owners can often control when their cars are charging and may be excellent candidates for this Pilot Program, but it is not a requirement.
After you apply using the online form, you will receive an email by October 22, 2020, letting you know if you have been enrolled in the Pilot Program or not. If you have been enrolled, you will also receive a letter in the mail.
Participation in this program is optional. You can leave the pilot program at any time and return to your default residential rate by contacting SCL_TOD_Rate_Pilot@seattle.gov. If you leave the program, you will not be able to rejoin.
Unfortunately, net metering customers cannot participate in the program due to the complicated billing requirements.
Not at this time. Enrollment will be open from September 24 to October 8 for all eligible customers. After enrollment closes on October 8, City Light employees will verify customer eligibility and select 200 qualified applicants to enroll in the program in October 2020.
Still have questions? Contact us at SCL_TOD_Rate_Pilot@seattle.gov.
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