SEATTLE - Top officials at Seattle City Light will answer questions and listen to comments from Seattle residents and business owners in a series of four neighborhood meetings beginning next week.
All of the meetings will be 7-9 p.m. and are scheduled as follows:
- Monday, June 24. Central Area Senior Center, 500 30th Ave. S.
- Thursday, June 27. Seattle Center. Lopez Room. 305 Harrison St.
- Tuesday, July 9. Meadowbrook Community Center. 10517 35th Ave. N.E.
- Wednesday, July 10. South Seattle Community College. Jerry Brockey Student Center. Room A. 6000 16th Ave. S.W.
City Light Superintendent Gary Zarker will conduct the meetings, which are being held around the city to allow participation from as many residents as possible.
"We've had a difficult couple of years in the power business, and we want to get out and talk to the people who own this utility," Zarker said. "We want to answer their questions and listen to their comments and stories. And if we can help them with any problems they are having with City Light, we will have the people there to do it."
Seattle residents and other City Light customers have seen a series of rate increases and surcharges since the power shortage and drought hit the Western United States in the winter of 2000-2001. The utility also increased its debt.
Although City Light officials contend the power shortage resulted directly from manipulation by power marketers, the focus of the four neighborhood hearings is expected to be on the future: how City Light is managing the situation, how it will prevent shortages in the future, and how soon the rates will come down.
However, Zarker noted, the real nature of the forums will be up to the participants, not to City Light officials. Their role, said the superintendent, will be to answer questions and listen.
In addition, City Light staff will be available to help those interested in budget billing, low-income and elderly rate assistance, and conservation programs.