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Lighting Seattle since 1905 Jorge Carrasco, Superintendent
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Subject:   City Light ready for storm season
For Immediate Release:   
11/10/2004  12:00:00 AM
For More Information Contact:
Scott Thomsen  (206) 386-4233


Seattle City Light is prepared for the upcoming fall and winter storm season and weather events that typically mean periods of rugged hard work for City Light personnel and line crews.

Each year, City Light approaches winter's challenges by preparing equipment, stockpiling supplies, analyzing weather and resource forecasts - and expecting the unexpected.

"City Light crews are ready to respond to outages and severe weather in the coming months," says Superintendent Jorge Carrasco. "Last year, nature put us to the test with a severe ice storm in January that left about 40,000 of our customers without power. We are ready to work around the clock in these events to restore power as quickly as possible."

City Light is keeping an eye this year on a developing El Nino condition in the Pacific, and on a potential pattern of arctic blasts followed by "Pineapple Expresses", which could alternately dump and melt snow in the mountains, triggering floods. The series of East Coast hurricanes this fall took a toll on generic electrical system supplies, such as wires and cables. City Light is making sure that materials it may need for maintenance and storm repair are readily available.

The Northwest Power Pool and the Western Electrical Coordinating Council monitor available power supplies and electrical flows throughout the entire Western half of the United States. Most electricity must be transmitted over long distances from where it is generated. In extreme cold, the demand placed on electrical transmission may become too much for the system to support, and outages can occur. Utilities work with each other through the regional organizations to maintain a reliable flow of power and plan alternatives when problems occur.

This year, rain has been near normal at City Light's Skagit and Pend Oreille watersheds, so the utility is heading into winter with full reservoirs. Major rockslides on Highway 20 last fall and winter affected operations at City Light's Skagit Project and left some employees stranded. Repairs have been made, and the utility will maximize the amount of power it can generate at its hydroelectric facilities.

City Light customers can prepare for winter and possible outages by picking up a "Power Outages and Electrical Safety Tips" brochure, available at libraries, community centers and City Light service centers. Outage tips are also available online at http://www.seattle.gov/light/neighborhoods/nh4_outs.htm. Customers can report power outages by calling City Light's Power Outage Hotline at (206) 684-7400.
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