||The state - and States - of
||Nine states have passed legislation
that opens the doors for retail electricity competition. Ten states have proposed similar
legislation in the past year. Pilot projects have been approved in eleven states. Every
state in the nation has initiated studies, regulatory reviews, developmental projects, or
other legislative or regulatory activity to consider the issue of restructuring the
electric utility industry. As the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and other federal
agencies work to implement the Energy Policy Act of 1992, Congress debates a variety of
measures and approaches to opening the electricity market.
No comprehensive legislation for restructuring has passed in Washington state, but
preparatory moves were passed during the last session. A senate bill (SB6560) requires
utilities to disclose information including data regarding rates, metering, and payment
arrangements. The bill also directs the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission
(WUTC) and the Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development (CTED) to study
rate disparity within the state and around the region. A report from WUTC and CTED is due
by December 31, 1998. A house bill (HB2831) requires that utility bills be unbundled by
September 30, 1998 and that utilities provide cost studies by September 1998, to the WUTC
for investor owned utilities and to the state auditor in the case of public utilities. The
WUTC and state auditor will submit reports to the House and Senate by December 1998. Rural
electric co-ops are exempt from this bill.
Meanwhile, voters in California and Massachusetts will get a chance to reconsider their
respective restructuring laws in November. An initiative petition in California calls for
repealing stranded cost recovery sections of that states legislation, a move some
predict could scuttle the entire program. Massachusettss voters also face an
initiative measure, this one to overturn the states entire restructuring plan.
Perhaps recent statements from Texas best sum up the state of things. In a July 7 Dallas
Morning News article, key lawmakers in Texas say they have never been more
skeptical of electric utility deregulation. Visits to California and England, where
deregulation is getting mixed reviews, have had a chilling, inhibiting effect
on the lawmakers, said state Representative Steve Wolens. Wolens: We were thinking,
Why do we want to mess with this? But the urge to pre-empt any federal
rule-writing may prompt Texans to act. I think the legislature would rather address
it than have the federal government do it for us, said Curt Seidlits, executive VP
of government affairs for Dallas-based Texas Utilities.
This much you can count on - as legislative and regulatory issues unfold, Seattle City
Light will continue to monitor them, influence them when possible, and advocate always for
the best interests of our customer-owners.
||System Control Center
||Keeping the Balance
||On the hectic floors of Wall Street
brokerage houses, shares and dollars change hands at a frenetic pace. Only recently have
the stock exchanges added electricity futures to their portfolios. But electricity trading
is not new to the power brokers at Seattle City Lights System Control
The futures traded by power dispatchers at the SCC are not based on an
estimated price for next week or next month, but the actual delivery of electrons over the
wires in the next hour or the next day. Using weather reports, load data, the generating
capacity of Seattle City Lights generation plants, the carrying capacity of
transmission lines, and supply-and-demand information from their counterparts throughout
the region, the dispatchers goal is to meet our customers requirements for
electricity at the lowest possible cost while maximizing the value of our generation on
the open market.
And thats just the half of it. Minute by minute, hour by hour, power dispatchers are
working with substation operators, line crews, network crews and others to make sure the
electricity that reaches your business flows smoothly. They maintain the delicate balance
between the power flowing from the dams and the motors, switches and machinery being
turned on and off throughout our service territory. They coordinate the switching of power
from one line to another so our crews can work in safety and transfer load when the
occasional mis-directed automobile connects with a utility pole.
The devil, as they say, is in the details, and this entire publication couldnt
possibly cover the technical details of the calm delivery of service these people provide
in a stressful atmosphere. If you would like to tour the System Control Center and get a
flavor of the heart of Seattle City Lights electrical system, contact
your Account Executive.
||At Your Fingertips
||New Services for a New Era
||It is often said in business that,
If youre not moving forward, youre falling behind. With the
electric utility industry undergoing its greatest transformation in a hundred years,
Seattle City Light has no intention of standing still.
Even as your utility tracks and evaluates legislation, pilot projects and regulatory
action at the regional, state and national level, Seattle City Light is already
implementing new programs to provide the highest possible level of service in any emerging
Cost Watch - You can reduce your monthly costs for all utilities with a
powerful software program called The Utility Manager. This Windows-based
energy-accounting software program offers site-specific, comparative information on all
your utility usage and costs. We can set up the system to track multiple sites and many
resources, including electricity, gas, water, sewer, garbage and recycling. We can also
interface directly with your accounting software. For more information, call Product
Manager John Forde at (206) 684-4288.
Power Quality - Poor power quality inside your facility affects your equipment
performance. Seattle City Light delivers to your meter the lowest cost, most reliable
electricity in urban America, so if you have power quality problems we will work with you
to help solve them. In addition to sponsoring workshops and seminars to help your staff
learn about power quality issues, we can provide an electrical engineer who will conduct
an assessment and make a referral to pre-qualified private service providers who can work
with you in your facility. Our staff will monitor proposed solutions to assure the
integrity of our distribution system. By partnering with you to solve power quality
problems, both you and Seattle City Light benefit from improved equipment efficiency and
less stress on the system. Call your Account Executive for more information.
and Resource Assessment - Receive a customized energy audit of your
commercial or industrial facility from City Light. Our Operations and Resource Assessment
Service is designed to provide information for managers and owners of commercial or
industrial large buildings (over 500,000 kWh annually) who want to reduce electricity
costs and improve their business operations. This service provides recommendations for
energy efficiency improvements (with financial incentives from City Light to write down
installation costs), operations and maintenance actions, and referrals to other City Light
services that can meet your needs. To arrange for an ORA audit, contact the Commercial and
Industrial Program hotline at (206) 684-3254.
Electronic Commerce - Both recordkeeping and
paying bills can be made easier through electronic commerce. Seattle City Light offers
Electronic Data Interchange at no charge for customers who can support electronic billing
and/or payment through EDI. Another option is to have Automatic Bank Payments made on the
billing due date, saving both you and Seattle City Light from handling paperwork. Contact
your Account Executive or Ken Cado at (206) 684-3106.
Advanced Metering - Monitor electricity
consumption in specific parts of your facility or for a single piece of equipment.
Advanced Metering can be installed temporarily, from one week to three months, or
permanently. It can assist you in developing a new electric service, expansion plan, or
just in analyzing consumption issues and billing concerns. One customer used it to gather
load data to meet permit requirements. With Advanced Metering you can spot unusual usage
trends and take specific action to realize cost savings. Contact the Technical Metering
Unit at (206) 684-3100 for an assessment and cost estimates.
Power Factor Correction - A review of bills for Seattle City Lights large customers has been
done to help reduce customer costs. Soon, if not already, you may receive a letter saying,
Your power factor charges are sizable. Wed like to help you reduce or
eliminate costly power factor charges. Seattle City Light will work with these
customers to identify qualified service providers who can determine if correcting power
factor can be done cost effectively, and who can assist you with installing power factor
correction equipment. We will monitor the equipment installation to insure your
satisfaction and to safeguard our distribution system integrity. If you think Power Factor
Correction could help you lower costs, please call your Account Executive.
||Is THIS What You Want?
|A lot of people at Seattle City
Light take a strong interest in Utility Trends, but what they think isnt really
important. Whats important is what YOU think.
Here at Seattle City Light we want to do our best to communicate with our customers.
Utility Trends was begun as a means of informing our largest customers of trends in the
industry, within City Light, and as a means of highlighting services available to you.
Maybe Utility Trends, a printed publication, is not the best method for sharing this
information. Maybe you, our readers, would prefer an electronic publication, on the Web or
delivered to you via e-mail. Maybe you would like a different kind of printed publication.
The goal is communication. If Utility Trends is what you want, please let us know. If not,
please tell us what you would like (even if you want to tell us to leave you alone). To
make it easy for you to talk to us, were providing a variety of options. You can
call (206) 386-9898 and leave a voicemail message. You can send e-mail to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or drop us a
postcard at Utility Trends, Rm. 2842; Seattle City Light; 700 5th Ave., Suite 3300;
Seattle, WA 98104-5031.
Well do our best to provide you with what YOU want.
||Preserving the Health of
||Award Winning Service
your efforts and
look forward to
seeing you and
Seattle City Light
|Increasing technology means
increasing sensitivity for electronic equipment, and this is particularly true in the
healthcare industry. Seattle City Light (SCL) recently won a Technical Achievement Award
from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) for work on electric reliability and
power quality at the Fred Hutchison Cancer Center and at Harborview Medical Center.
Account Executive David Docter was singled out for leadership in providing power
quality and environmental solutions for your healthcare customers.
Specialized hospital equipment can create unique power quality problems. Minor electrical
disturbances that might go unnoticed elsewhere can cause inaccurate readings with
high-tech equipment relying on sensitive microprocessors. In addition, some electronic
medical and office equipment may create electrical disturbances during operation, which
can affect other equipment in the same facility.
Last April SCL joined the Washington State Society of Healthcare Engineering, the
Washington State Biomedical Association, the Bonneville Power Administration and other
utilities throughout the state as sponsors of a two-day symposium on Power Quality in
Healthcare Facilities. Docter followed up on that by leveraging SCLs membership in
EPRI by calling on their equipment and expertise to assist Fred Hutch and Harborview in
diagnosing and resolving power quality issues.
At the close of a congratulatory letter to Docter from EPRI, it says, We applaud
your efforts and look forward to seeing you and Seattle City Light continue to champion
future technology applications. As providers of the lowest cost, most reliable
electricity in urban America, we intend to do exactly that. Contact your Account Executive
to discuss power quality issues.
||Chips in an Old Block
||Year 2000 Bug
|Due to a programming shortcut taken
many years ago, on Saturday, January 1, 2000, computer systems around the world may
think that its Monday, January 1, 1900. Results of this Y2K
problem could include losing the ability to perform accounting, payroll, inventory,
customer information, billing and other vital data processing functions, and a subsequent
tidal wave of litigation.
While some companies are just beginning to address the Y2K issue, SCL and the City of
Seattle have the advantage of having started early. But Y2K is a worldwide problem, and
potentially non-compliant systems not under our control could adversely affect the City.
We will provide regular updates to Council as we approach the year 2000.
Fixing the problem is time-consuming and labor-intensive, involving the review,
reprogramming and testing of millions of lines of computer code written in arcane, and
sometimes almost obsolete, computer languages. The worldwide cost of remediating existing
systems or replacing them with new Y2K compliant systems is estimated to be in
the hundreds of billions of dollars. Computer experts have been aware of this problem for
many years, but with less than 18 months to go until January 2000, many companies,
government agencies and individuals have only just begun to address the issue.
SCL began evaluating its Y2K exposure in 1995 with the initial assessment of the Customer
Information System (CIS). In 1996 we joined forces with other City departments to work
together on a detailed analysis and remediation program. Early on we recognized Y2K as a
business issue, not just a technology issue; we began identifying systems that are not Y2K
compliant and implementing appropriate replacement or repair strategies. To date, 43
software applications have been reviewed and tested. Four of our most critical systems
(Energy Management System, Material Management System, SCL Automated Meter System, and the
Conservation Tracking System) are compliant. Solutions for systems that are not compliant
have been identified and will be in place by June, 1999.
For the past two years one of our key messages to you, our customers, has been that we
provide the lowest cost, most reliable electricity in urban America. We will
continue to make every effort to insure that reliability is one of our fundamental
services on January 1, 2000 and beyond.
||Service In Action
||What Were Doing For You
||An initial meeting was held to discuss beginning
and Resource Assessment (ORA) at Wright Runstads First Interstate Building. The
consultant was informed that in addition to a regular ORA on the building, an additional
component would be to develop a metering plan for permanent and temporary metering to
satisfy goals expressed by the customer. Among these goals are to determine additional
energy management efficiency opportunities, and how best to satisfy the Department of
Construction and Land Uses requirements for 30-day demand data prior to electrical
A Network crew has worked two weekends and 12-hour days to meet the customers
request for expedited construction of a vault at the Starwood Hotel. This effort will
result in shortening the vault construction schedule by four weeks. Permanent power is
expected to be available early next week.
Seattle City Light responded quickly to get Ball Fosters furnace back on line with
minimum downtime. One of BFs own furnace transformers failed, and they called to see
if City Light had any loaners they could use. City Light went to the BF plant to assess
the situation and provided information to BF on how they could use one of their own spare
transformers as a temporary replacement. BF saved a lot of money in avoided lost
||News About the Electric Utility Industry
of $1.2 billion"
|U.S. utility companies can achieve
annual cost reductions of $1.2 billion through the effective use of electronic bill
presentment and payment systems. According to Killen & Associates, the opportunity for
utilities to save also provides an opportunity to develop a new revenue stream.
These large dollar savings can be seized by any utility that shifts from existing
paper-based systems to electronic-based billing, stated Bob Goodwin, senior vice
president of the research firm. The cost of manual bill presentment ranges from 60
cents to $1.40 per bill. Electronic bill presentment can reduce that figure to about 50
cents each. When electronic payment is integrated with presentment, the available cost
reduction becomes even greater.
The legal fallout from disruptions in electric power presents some of the most
challenging, long- term new issues arising out of the restructuring of this
industry, according to Barry Fleishman, a partner in the law firm of Dickstein,
Shapiro, Morin & Oshinsky, LLP, Washington, D.C. All participants in the
electric power industry, from the initial generator of electricity to the ultimate
end-user of power, will be affected by the application of law to issues of power
interruption liability and insurance.
||Electric League of the Pacific
||The Electric League of the Pacific Northwest
Tools for Commercial Building Design and Management on October 28, 1998 at the
Embassy Suites , Tukwila, WA.
Registration deadline is Friday, October 16, 1998. Call (425) 646-4727 for brochure and