Seattle City Light has determined that all electrical meters need to be mounted on land for safety reasons. Under Article 3.12.3. Houseboat Piers City Light service to houseboats must be terminated onshore. The termination equipment must also be approved by City Light. City Light will not upgrade existing overhead distribution on houseboat piers. If additional loads require upgrading of houseboat pier electrical distribution, it is the customer’s responsibility to do so.

If your dock has joined the FHA and you are a Dock Officer you can see the updates on this topic here.

The Floating Home Association (FHA) aims to work with Seattle City Light (SCL) to develop standards that better accommodate the unique needs of floating home communities. The main issues involve ensuring that electrical service upgrades are managed in a way that doesn’t unfairly burden individual homeowners with dock-wide improvements and that standards are clear and predictable.

Key Points:

  1. Current Challenges: The existing SCL requirements can be broadly interpreted, sometimes leading to significant and costly upgrades when only minor changes are made to an individual floating home.
  2. State Law: RCW 90.58.270 protects floating homes legally established before 2011 from unreasonable conditions and mitigation that would preclude maintenance or remodeling.
  3. Proposed Scenarios: The FHA has outlined five scenarios for handling electrical service changes, aiming to ensure upgrades are reasonable and do not disproportionately affect homeowners:
    • Scenario 1: Remodeling a home or a common dock ‘house’ meter where the existing meter is on the house or common element. SCL will reconnect power as long as the load is unchanged or does not exceed the capacity of the existing overhead distribution.
    • Scenario 2: Remodeling or replacing a home where the existing meter is located on the dock. SCL will replace the meter on the existing service box without requiring additional upgrades.
    • Scenario 3: Removing and replacing a floating home where the existing meter is on the house. SCL will reconnect power to a new meter on the home or dock post, as long as the new load does not require an upgrade to the distribution system.
    • Scenario 4: Upgrading the dock electrical distribution system with or without a dock rebuild. Dock owners will terminate SCL’s service on shore and provide secondary services to homes, with a mix of shore-side and legacy meters over time.
    • Scenario 5: SCL abandonment and formal transfer of ownership of electrical distribution facilities to the dock. If meters move to shore, SCL will transfer ownership of the distribution system to the dock.
  4. Future Standards: The FHA seeks to collaborate with SCL to establish clear standards for floating home electrical systems, including termination points, secondary distribution, and meter placement.

The goal is to have these new rules and standards in place by the end of 2024. This approach should provide predictability and fairness for floating home owners while ensuring compliance with state regulations.