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The City of Seattle
Seattle City Light Department

Request for Information
For Hydroelectric Power Plant Automation

General Information

The City of Seattle, Seattle City Light Department (SCL) is requesting information (RFI) from consultants with a unique combination of expertise in hydroelectric power plant automation and experience in community development. SCL needs assistance in analyzing the effectiveness of prior automation implemented to its major hydroelectric power plants and to determine if there are additional efficiencies and cost improvements which may be obtained by changing operating and maintenance practices and organization support for the plants.

The range of consulting experience and/or services may include the following: electrical engineering - data acquisition and control, mechanical engineering, economic analysis, community development and urban planning, hydroelectric facilities, municipal utility, public agencies, and strategic planning.

The anticipated major work product will be a study which analyzes the current status of automation at SCL's plants, recommendations regarding further system improvements, fully describes the new automated status, provides staffing requirements to support the maintenance of a fully automated facility, and provides a review of the impact on the current facilities, support and community functions. SCL may at its option, hire a consultant to work under the general guidance of an Oversight Committee comprised of members of stakeholder groups such as Generation and Environment divisions at City Light, the National Parks Service, labor unions and the community.

Background and Scope of Work

Seattle City Light (SCL) is one the nation's ten largest citizen-owned utilities, generating and supplying power to over 330,000 customers. The utility is a department of the City of Seattle with the Superintendent reporting to the Mayor and is governed by the Seattle City Council.

SCL owns and operates three hydroelectric dams on the Skagit River: Ross, Diablo and Gorge (approximately 120 miles northeast of Seattle), one large hydroelectric dam, on the Pend Orielle River in Eastern Washington, called Boundary Dam (approximately 125 miles north of Spokane) and two smaller facilities one each on the Cedar Falls Watershed in North Bend, Washington and the Tolt River outside Carnation, Washington.

In the 1970's the Skagit generating units were fitted with remote and automated control systems providing start/stop of generators and plant level load control from the System Control Center (SCC). In the 1990's the load control was extended to individual unit control that allowed operation of the units at their most efficient loading. There is also remote operation capability of some of the spill gates. An operator staffs each plant 7 days per week during the day shift. The plants are not staffed 16 hours each day.

The Boundary Powerhouse is staffed 24 hours a day with an operator. The operator starts and stops the units, but the load is adjusted remotely by the SCC.

At the Skagit Project, SCL owns and maintains two small towns: Diablo and Newhalem. These communities include residences, roads, water and sewage, garbage collection, police and fire protections, grounds maintenance, electrical utilities and a bunkhouse, cookhouse and library. These structures and facilities are in addition to the buildings and grounds that are necessary for the production of hydro-electricity.

The Cedar Falls plant is staffed four days per week. The generating units must be started manually but load can be changed remotely when on-line. The Tolt Plant is fully automated and is started and loaded remotely from the System Control Center.

A draft of the Scope of Work can be obtained by calling Ginny Habib, Seattle City Light Contract Administrator, at 206-684-3457.

Selection Process

SCL will establish a list of consultants of which proposals may be sought. This is a "Request for Information" only. SCL may at its option, contract for these services after a Request for Proposal is issued, received, and evaluated, and may decide to execute a contract for all or portions of the Automation Study.


Respondents to this RFI are requested to submit brief statements, specifically including the following information.

  1. Experiences on related activities at a similar facility involving public, private and federal lands.
  2. Experiences in automation of large-scale hydroelectric generating stations involving multiple powerhouses and dams with and without associated community town sites.
  3. Experiences with network integration associated with SCADA and EMS systems of similar magnitude and complexity.
  4. Estimate of schedule and cost of completing the implementation plan (scope of work).

Submittal Deadline and Contact Person

Please submit your information to Chris Doerfler (KT 3520), Seattle City Light Department, 700 Fifth Avenue, Suite 3300, Seattle, WA 98l04-5031, no later than 5:00 p.m. on

Tuesday, May 28, 2002

Any questions regarding the contents of this RFI should be directed to Chris Doerfler at (206) 684-3178. Prospective consultants must limit their contact to this person when seeking information on the project.



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