Public power is
one of the oldest forms of electric utility
ownership in the U.S. It is a gift inherited from
past generations. Thanks to the Seattle voters
who approved a bond issue to develop a
hydroelectric facility on the Cedar River in 1902
beginning of public power in Seattle, and
the nation's first municipally owned hydro
project. Thanks also to J.D. Ross, "Father
of City Light" who supported public power.
At Seattle City Light, we pride ourselves on
serving our customers with public power.
Is Public Power?
Like community schools, parks, and
hospitals, public power systems are local institutions
working together to meet local needs. Without earning a
profit, public power systems operate to provide an
essential public service at a reasonable cost. We are
governed by elected Seattle officials, guided by public
involvement, and supported by customer revenues, not
taxes. In fact, the utility pays substantial taxes to
state and local governments.
Are the Benefits?
On a national average, public power rates are
significantly lower than private power companies.
Seattle City Light's rates continue to be among
the lowest in the nation, and are set to recover
only the cost of providing power and to remain
Public power systems advance the quality of
service and technology because they provide the
latitude to make local decisions that best suit
local needs. We are in business to sustain and
enhance our community's quality of life by
providing excellent energy services.
Commitment to the
environment. An extended responsibility
beyond providing power is to protect the
environment and be stewards of all the resources
that contribute to the product. We are committed
to promote and support efficient use of power to
minimize the need for new sources of generation.
Does It Serve?
About 46 million Americans receive power
from more than 2,000 public power systems operated by
municipalities, counties, states, cities, or other public
bodies. Public power systems are in every state except
Hawaii. We are the nation's 10th largest public power
system, serving about 400,000 customers.
The electric utility
industry has been responding to competitive changes since
the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 1992. The public
power system's success in this new competitive
marketplace benefits all electric consumers because this
form of competition, by comparison, helps to hold down
electric rates. Today we are well situated to respond to
these changes. Seattle City Lights ability to
deliver quality service and provide the lowest cost, most
reliable electricity in urban America has never been
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