Streetlight Rate Increase (or, how your Water District became responsible for street light billing)

Streetlight_0031Did you know that a large number of Special Purpose Districts (like ours) are responsible for street light billing?

Here in the Shoreline/Lake Forest Park area, out of the 8,000+ accounts that we invoice for water services every other month, 260 of those accounts are also charged for street lights.

How in the world did street light charges become the responsibility of a water district?

It all started back in 1956, when our area was unincorporated. The only way streetlights could be added to new residential developments in unincorporated areas was to find a local public agency able to handle installation, maintenance and billing. King County Water District No. 42 (our District’s original name) was the only option for those 260 accounts.

Fast forward to today: Seattle City Light is responsible for street light maintenance in both Shoreline and Lake Forest Park, paid by an electricity contract from both cities. However, these original 260 accounts are not included in the contracts, so the District must continue to collect revenue to cover their street light costs. And because the cost to separate and transfer these 260 accounts would greatly exceed the amount collected for their maintenance, third party street light billing continues to this day.

If you’re one of the 260 accounts whose water bill includes a line item for street lights, please note: Seattle City Light recently raised their street light rates in 2013, an increase which your Water District must likewise pass along to you. We do not charge any administrative fees for providing this service. Should you have questions about your street light billing, feel free to contact us at 206.362.8100.