Wise use of water, electricity helps supplies, lets customers control their bills
SEATTLE -- A combination of cold weather and low rainfall has prompted an appeal from the City of Seattle for conservation.
Mayor Paul Schell, City Councilmember Heidi Wills and officials from Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities delivered the conservation message today at a news conference.
“Seattle’s citizens are always ready to do the right thing for conservation and the environment,” Schell said.
“It’s a very basic idea,” Wills said. “Use less water and electricity, be more efficient, don’t waste the city’s natural resources.”
Seattle City Light is confident the lights will stay on in Seattle during the current cold snap – but buying the energy to meet the demand comes with a high price. City Light Superintendent Gary Zarker said short-term conservation measures will help the region avoid power shortfalls and help customers lower their bills.
“We are confident Seattle City Light will be able to purchase all the energy we need to meet our customers’ requirements,” says Superintendent Zarker. “That’s the good news. The bad news is that the energy we buy will be extraordinarily expensive.”
Diana Gale, managing director of Seattle Public Utilities, said this fall’s drought has not affected the availability of water for homes and businesses in the area, but it does provide an opportunity for re-emphasizing conservation.
“We have adequate water supply in reserve that can be used if necessary,” Gale said. “We also anticipate we will see some much-needed rain in the next few weeks, which will help fill our reservoirs to levels more typical for this time of year. However, we still encourage people to conserve water, particularly during this dry period.
“Conserving water means saving supply for people, fish and energy generation,” Gale added.
The mayor said he wants City departments to lead the way in reducing electricity use. The Seattle Center, at the height of its Winterfest Celebration, is turning decorative lighting on only during peak hours from 5:00p.m to11: 00 p.m. City Light turned off its large neon sign, a city landmark, at its service facility on South Spokane Street. Seattle’s Parks and Recreation Department is also doing its part.
“If you swim at a City pool in the next day or two, you can expect the water to be a little colder than usual. I’ve encouraged all city department heads and employees to do what they can to conserve power,” says Mayor Schell.
Zarker and Gale stressed that customers can control their own bills, even with the new power cost adjustment that just took effect.
“You are in control of your bill,” said Zarker. “There is a monetary benefit to you to use energy efficiently. We can meet your energy needs -- but it is a good time to use less.”
Seattle Public Utilities earlier this year launched its “1% Water Conservation” program, with the goal of reducing average per capita water use by 1 percent per year for the next ten years. Accomplishing this goal will mean accommodating a decade of population growth without any new demand for water. City Light’s pioneering conservation programs have been in place since 1977.