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Subject:   Mild, Dry Winter Dooms Surplus Power Sales
For Immediate Release:   
3/2/2010  10:06:00 AM
For More Information Contact:
Scott Thomsen  (206) 386-4233
Low Snowpack Means Smaller Power Supply, Financial Challenges for Utilities

SEATTLE The mild winter the Pacific Northwest is now experiencing thanks to the El Nino weather pattern will have consequences for Seattle City Light and its customers throughout 2010.

City Light depends on snowpack to provide the water that powers the hydroelectric dams that produce its low-cost electricity. Snowpack effectively serves as a battery, storing some of the dams power source for use in the summer and fall. A warmer- and dryer-than-normal winter means less snow and a smaller supply of electricity throughout the year.

While there will be enough power to serve Seattle area residents and businesses, City Light will have much less to sell on the open market, an important source of revenue that helps to hold down costs for our customers.

Reporters are invited to learn how big that impact could be and how the City Council is proposing to guard against such fluctuations in the future at a news conference Thursday, March 4, featuring City Councilmember Bruce Harrell and City Light Superintendent Jorge Carrasco.

WHAT: News conference on the financial impacts of low snowpacks
WHEN: 10:30 a.m., March 4
WHERE: City Hall meet in the main lobby on Fifth Avenue (between Cherry and James)
WHO: City Councilmember Bruce Harrell and City Light Superintendent Jorge Carrasco
WHY: Snowpack is the battery for the Pacific Northwests hydroelectric dams

Seattle City Light is the ninth largest public electric utility in the United States. It has the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility in the country, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to nearly 1 million Seattle area residents. City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.

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