Candidate Sought for City Light Review Panel

Mayor Durkan is currently seeking a candidate to serve on the Seattle City Light Review Panel. The Review Panel, established in 2010, plays an important role in providing input and engagement of City Light ratepayers in the development and review of the utility’s biennial update to the six-year Strategic Business Plan. The Review Panel is also tasked with reviewing electricity rate proposals, assessing City Light’s electricity rate design and considering the implementation of cost allocation changes among customer classes.

The current vacant panel position is designated for an economist or related profession, preferably with experience in energy economics or commodity risk management.

For more details regarding participation in the Review Panel, including the time commitment to attend regular monthly meetings, please visit this link:

This position is appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council to serve a renewable three-year term. Qualified candidates will be screened and forwarded to the Mayor’s Office for consideration. To be considered for appointment by the Mayor to the Seattle City Light Review Panel, please send a letter of interest and resume by Monday, May 21, 2018 to or via mail to:

Seattle City Light

Attn: Leigh Barreca

700 Fifth Avenue

Suite 3200

Seattle, WA 98104


City Light Submits Advanced Metering Report to Seattle City Council: Outlining Benefits, Research and Addressing Concerns

In an effort to improve customer’s experience and rate predictability and enhance organizational performance as outlined in our Strategic Plan, City Light plans to replace approximately 430,000 old electric meters with new advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). The advanced meters will provide two-way wireless communication between the meter and the utility, which will offer several benefits including future rate stability, reducing carbon emissions from vehicles and conserving natural resources.

At the request of City Council, as part of Council Resolution Number 31529, City Light provided a White Paper report outlining the benefits, cost, research, and customer outreach plan relating to the advanced metering initiative as well as addressing some questions and concerns brought forth by council and the public.

This report was submitted to council on Sept. 30, 2014. To honor our commitment to transparency and accountability, the White Paper report is made available for viewing by the public and the media on City Light’s AMI webpage and can be translated on request.

To view a copy of the report or to learn more about advanced meters, please visit:

About Seattle City Light

Seattle City Light is the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States. It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to about 750,000 Seattle area residents. City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.


Testing program saves money, extends life of poles

If you spot a bunch of new electric poles in your neighborhood or street, you could be witnessing City Light’s enhanced effort to inspect and treat every single pole in distribution system.

Since 2011, City Light has implemented a formal schedule and procedure for regular inspections and treatment of the 92,000 light poles in our service area. Contractors hired by City Light are currently inspecting each pole and drilling test holes near the pole bases, to gauge the condition of the wood.

The visible conditions and core test data are entered into a computer program that calculates the remaining strength of the pole. If it is too damaged, workers schedule it for replacement. But if a pole shows enough integrity to provide continued service, workers insert several preservative treatment rods into to the wood.

The rods gradually infuse the pole with borax or fluoride-based preservatives – safer and non-polluting chemicals – to inhibit fungus and bacteria that eat the wood.

The inspection and treatments can add anywhere from five to 20 years of service life to a pole, at a cost of less than $20 per pole. By comparison, a new pole can cost as much as $8,000.

The plan is to continuously test and treat approximately 10 percent of our inventory every year, so that the entire system gets a checkup every 10 years.

The new testing procedure is a return of sorts to the past. Records indicate that City Light performed this same type of “Test & Treat” program in the 1950s and early 1960s. The last City Light formal, regular procedure for pole testing and treatment happened in the early 1960s. Over time, the utility chose instead to rely on initial factory preservative treatment methods and visual inspections by field workers.

Things changed in 2009, when City Light began a systematic inventory of all of its equipment and assets. At that time, workers recorded and did a triage inspection of all poles in the system that carried electrical, cable and phone lines. That census combined with a follow-up inspection program in 2011 to 2013 identified 9,800 poles for replacement.

City Light has also improved the preservation methods for its poles, to make sure that they are safer for the environment. In the past, most utilities relied on very toxic chemicals such as creosote, tar and even asbestos as part of the preservative formula. Today, poles are treated at the mill with copper naphtenate, a lox-toxicity preservative that is less likely to leach into the ground near the pole. City Light also uses plastic liners for the buried part of a pole, to keep moisture, insects and microbes from damaging the wood.

The testing and treatment program is managed by City Light Strategic Advisor Dave Albergine, with assistance from Pole Engineer Ryan Taggart. Brad Combs and Steve Crume have also been long-time champions of methodology. Their work set the direction of today’s program to take the best possible care of our wood poles.