JORGE CARRASCO

General Manager &
Chief Executive Officer

Looking back on my 11 years at Seattle City Light, I'm most proud of the team that came together and what they were able to accomplish. The utility was facing some serious financial, cultural and service challenges as the new century dawned. Thanks to our smart, hard-working team, and with the support of the Mayor and City Council, we addressed the hard issues head on. City Light was charted on a new course. Debt was paid down, costs were controlled, reserves were built up, and risk management was enhanced. Most importantly, City Light was positioned to provide the best customer service experience of any utility. This online annual report highlights the powerful progress in 2014.

Jorge Carrasco
Seattle City Light CEO, 2004-2015

SEATTLE CITY LIGHT

Seattle City Light serves more than 415,000 customers in the City of Seattle and eight adjacent jurisdictions. The publicly owned utility relies on a mix of resources to fulfill its customers’ energy needs.

The current resource portfolio includes:

  • City Light-owned generation resources;
  • investments in conservation;
  • and long-term contract resources supplemented with power-exchange agreements, near-term purchases and sales made in the wholesale power market.

STEWARDS OF A CRITICAL PUBLIC INVESTMENT

Created by the citizens of Seattle in 1902, today Seattle City Light serves approximately 415,000 customers in the City of Seattle and eight adjacent jurisdictions. Seattle City Light is the 10th largest public power system in the United States based on retail energy sales.

Customer Service Area Map

Nearly half of customers’ electric needs are met from hydropower dams owned and operated by City Light; most of the remaining power needs are met by hydropower purchased from the Bonneville Power Administration and investments in renewable and conservation resources.

Resources Map
"It's surprising that a lot of the people in Seattle don't even know that they own this place. This is their public utility." Oscar Soto,
City Light Crew Chief

THE NATION’S GREENEST

Seattle City Light isn’t a typical electric utility. We’re known as the nation’s greenest utility. Here’s why:

  • Clean hydroelectricity supplies 90 percent of Seattle’s power. Our decision in 1905 to invest in dams and hydroelectric plants means that today we provide the cleanest electricity of any city in the country.

  • In 2005, City Light became the first utility in the country to achieve a net-zero carbon footprint. Today we’re a model for clean electricity and energy conservation.

  • The utility’s environmental stewardship and conservation programs have resulted in high returns of wild Chinook, steelhead and chum salmon on the Skagit River where three of City Light’s dams are located.

  • Seattle City Light provides some of the nation’s lowest utility rates to Seattle, saving people another kind of “green.”

KEEPING RATES LOW

Seattle City Light rates versus other large U.S. cities in cents per kilowatt-hour (2014)

City Rate
Seattle 7.61¢
Charlotte 8.55¢
Indianapolis 8.71¢
Dallas 8.99¢
Memphis 9.30¢
Portland 9.56¢
Austin 9.66¢
Denver 9.89¢
Nashville 10.14¢
Jacksonville 10.48¢
Chicago 10.55¢
Detroit 11.2¢
Phoenix 11.6¢
Washington DC 12.55¢
Philadelphia 13.05¢
Columbus 13.18¢
San Francisco 13.79¢
Los Angeles 14.79¢
Boston 15.36¢
New York City 23.56¢

Sources: Edison Electric Institute’s “Typical Bills and Average Rates Report Winter 2015”* or directly from each utility. Data is based on typical bills and average rates.

*Some Texas utilities assigned Texas average rate (Energy Information Administration) due to deregulation.

THE BEST IN CUSTOMER SERVICE

City Light customers depend on the utility to provide reliable service. This means preparing for a wide variety of circumstances: windstorms and heat waves, building booms and busts, new technologies and aging equipment. No matter the circumstance, taking care of our customers is a strategic priority.

Seattle City Light received the highest numerical score among midsize utilities in the West in the proprietary J.D. Power 2015 Electric Utility Business Customer Satisfaction StudySM. Study based on 22,857 total online interviews ranking the 12 largest providers in the West. Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of businesses surveyed April-June and July-November 2014. Your experiences may vary. Visit jdpower.com.

PEOPLE-POWERED

CITY LIGHT EMPLOYEES

City Light is powered by approximately 1,800 employees. You’re probably familiar with the men and women you see around town in yellow trucks, but did you know we also have employees located as far away as Boundary Hydroelectric Project in the far northeastern corner of the state, a stone’s throw from the Canadian border? It takes a well-trained, dynamic workforce to power an electric utility. From biologists to economists, our people work around the clock to keep the power on.

GOVERNANCE

A municipally owned public power system, elected Seattle officials govern Seattle City Light.

Performance

Dedicated to our customers and committed to providing low-cost, reliable and environmentally responsible electric power.

Scroll over the map to learn
about some of Seattle City
Light’s key accomplishments
in 2014:

SEATTLE:

  • Invested in People
  • Engaged Customers in New Ways
  • Reduced Consumer Fraud
  • Community Solar Project
  • Shoreline LED Conversion
  • NW Solarfest
  • Rebuilding Together Seattle
  • South Service Center Family Day
  • Keeping Ospreys Safe
  • Earth Day Duwamish Cleanup
  • Decant Facility Opens
  • H-Frame Project
  • Seawall Preparation
  • Charity Urban Farm
  • Denny Substation
  • Shoreline LED Completed
  • Silicon Injection Project
  • West Seattle 4K Line Upgrade
  • Warm Hearts, Warm Homes

BEYOND SEATTLE:

  • Oso, Washington
  • Skagit Tours
  • Boundary Dam
  • Skagit Salmonid Habitat

SKAGIT TOURS FILLED TO CAPACITY

City Light acquired 230 acres for salmon conservation along the Skagit River, allowing the utility to protect high quality spawning and juvenile rearing habitat. The utility carefully manages flows from its Skagit River dams to ensure healthy salmon populations.

RESULTS

In 2014, Seattle City Light delivered on its commitment to producing and delivering environmentally responsible, safe, low-cost and reliable power to customers.

MAJOR STRATEGIC MILESTONES

Utility Discount Program hits target
City Light’s customer care division successfully exceeded its 2014 enrollment goal for the Utility Discount Program. The utility increased outreach to eligible customers, extended enrollment periods, and expanded access to affordable power for low-income households.
Reduced utility vacancy rate
Following the economic downturn in 2008, City Light’s job vacancy rate climbed to 10.9 percent. However, by 2014 the utility successfully reduced its vacancy rate to 5 percent and even pared down the amount of time needed to fill open positions.
Engaged broader cross section of population
From interviews on Univisión Seattle and viral videos of Washington’s only native caribou to hosting City Light’s first Social Justice Equity Fair, the utility connected with customers and the public in new and diverse ways.
Enhanced sustainability and exceeded conservation goals
City Light continued its legacy as the nation’s greenest utility and met its 2014 conservation goal. Through zero-carbon footprint energy, affordable solar power, and electricity generated mostly from hydropower, the utility conserved the annual energy use of 12,731 homes.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

J.D. Power and Associates
City Light’s customers rated the utility as one of the best midsize utilities in the West, according to J.D. Power and Associates. The utility’s overall customer satisfaction increased over 2013 results, putting it in the nation’s top 20 utilities.
White House names Seattle “Climate Action Champion”
The White House recognized Seattle as a Climate Action Champion as a result of the utility’s decade-long track record as a 100 percent carbon-neutral electric utility.
Contributes to Most Sustainable City rating
Seattle achieved a 5-STAR Community Rating with the help of City Light’s commitment to 100 percent carbon neutrality. The city achieved the highest score to date and is only second in the nation to receive the 5-STAR rating.
Tree Line USA utility
City Light’s commitment to protecting urban forests and providing customers with clean, reliable, affordable electricity earned recognition as a Tree Line USA utility from the Arbor Day Foundation.
National Employer of the Year from Association of People Supporting Employment First
City Light’s Supported Employment program, which hires and assists employees with development disabilities, won the 2014 National Employer of the Year award by the Association of People Supporting Employment First. The program received multiple awards in 2014 including “Employer of the Year” from Governor Inslee’s Committee on Disability and Employment Issues, and “Outstanding Employer of the Year” from the Community Employment Alliance.

We hope you enjoyed this annual report highlighting our efforts to deliver the best customer service in the nation.