FACT Act Overview

Requirements for those opening new residential utility accounts

Under a 2009 federal law, if you are opening a new residential utility account, the City of Seattle will verify your identity. Several forms of government-issued photo identification are acceptable, and you can complete your verification via fax, U.S. mail or in person at several locations throughout Seattle.

Purpose of the law

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions (FACT) Act of 2003 is designed to give you added protection against identity theft and consumer fraud. Congress enacted the law and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) administers it. In 2008, the FTC implemented regulations mandating that public utilities, which include Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities, comply with the law's requirements.

Impact on public utilities

The FACT Act covers many things, but the part that impacts public utilities is the requirement under the "red flag rule" that public utilities create an "identity theft prevention program." Utilities have been included in this law because the federal government found someone can open a utility account and, after receiving his or her first bill, use that bill as a form of accepted identification to conduct fraudulent activities, such as opening bank accounts, obtaining driver's licenses, applying for government benefits, etc.

Identity verification options

The City of Seattle offers multiple verification options to you.

Seattle City Light or Seattle Public Utilities 
Complete an online application that includes identity verification through Equifax or previous utility account information. 
Seattle City Light or Seattle Public Utilities 
Contact us at (206) 684-3000 to complete an application and verify your identity through Equifax or previous utility account information over the phone.  

In Person
When you verify your identity in person, we will send confirmation to the utilities.
Lake City Customer Service Center
12525 28th Ave. NE, second floor
University Customer Service Center
4534 University Way NE
Ballard Customer Service Center
5604 22nd Ave. NW
Central Customer Service Center
464 12th Ave., first floor
Southeast Customer Service Center
3815 S. Othello St., Suite 105
Southwest Customer Service Center
2801 SW Thistle St.
Seattle City Light North Service Center
1300 N. 97th St.
Seattle City Light South Service Center
3613 Fourth Ave. S.
Utilities Service Desk
Seattle Municipal Tower
700 Fifth Ave., fourth floor lobby level

Accepted proofs of identity

For in-person verifications, we will confirm the validity of the identification documents using existing resources and visual inspection. We will also send confirmation of verifications to the utilities, where new account requests will be completed. We will not send personal information with the notice of identity confirmation.

We accept government-issued photo identification containing your name, date of birth and photograph. Examples include:

  • State or U.S. territory driver's license or identification card.
  • Current passport.
  • The Matricula Consular.
  • Permanent resident card.
  • Resident alien card.
  • Temporary resident card.
  • Employment authorization card.
  • Certification of naturalization.
  • Military ID card/Geneva Conventions identification.

If a tenant cannot provide photo identification, or a notarized application or landlord affidavit, the account can be opened in the property owner's or landlord's name.

If you need interpretation services

We can accommodate immigrants or individuals with limited English-speaking abilities who may not have government-issued identification. City staff have access to interpreters who can help get questions answered. We are committed to helping our customers understand these procedures and what type of documentation is required to open a new residential utility account.

Program administration

The City of Seattle's Department of Finance and Administrative Services is administering this program on behalf of the City. We closely monitor this program and are committed to helping our customers work through these procedures

For more information, contact the Utilities Call Center at 206-684-3000.