Public Power Week — A Message from Larry Weis, Seattle City Light GM & CEO

City Light General Manager and CEO Larry Weis

Public Power Week is an opportunity to celebrate the publicly-owned utilities across the country.

Since 1905, Seattle City Light has provided safe, reliable and affordable power to its customers. City Light has a powerful history and prides itself on its Northwest values – this includes social responsibility, energy efficiency and environmental stewardship.

As we celebrate our past, we must also look toward and prepare for the future.

The good news is that City Light is adapting and working to stay ahead. We’re actively and creatively becoming the “Utility of the Future,” an agile organization able to adjust to a changing industry and a changing environment.

Rest assured – one thing that will not change is our unwavering commitment to our customers and providing safe, reliable and affordable power.

Seattle City Light Celebrates Public Power Week


Starting Oct. 2 to Oct. 8, Seattle City Light will be joining more than 2,000 public utilities as it celebrates Public Power Week, hosted by the American Public Power Association.

Throughout the week, you will meet some of City Light’s hard-working staff, learn more about the utility’s history and find out more about what public power means to you. 

Follow the Seattle City Light Facebook account to participate in City Light’s personalized version of Public Power Week. With seven days full of content, videos and photos — the utility put together a guide (below), so you can follow along and celebrate Public Power Week!


Day #1 – “Substation Sunday”
Michael Clark, Seattle City Light’s Denny Substation Program Manager, explains how the Denny Substation is known as “The World’s Coolest Substation.”



Day #2 – “Meaningful Monday”
Seattle City Light General Manager and CEO, Larry Weis, starts the day off with an introduction of how important it is to be publicly powered.



Day #3 – “Tech Tuesday”
Meet the Seattle City Light Energy Advisors and learn more about the importance of energy conservation and other green-minded tips.



Day #4 – “Working Wednesday”
Seattle City Light lineworkers and interns share their rewarding experience of helping customers and the community while working for the utility.



Day #5 – “Throwback Thursday”
This #TBT is dedicated to the powerful history of Seattle City Light and being one of the first publicly-owned utilities in the nation.



Day #6 – “Future Friday”
Seattle City Light General Manager and CEO, Larry Weis, explains how the utility will move forward into the ever-changing industry.




Day #7 – “Safety Saturday”
It’s almost storm season, so time to brush up on your safety skills. Learn more safety tips from some of Seattle City Light’s Safety Team.



Energy Efficient Street Lighting: Another Benefit of Public Power

As we celebrate Public Power Week, a new report by Navigant Research shows how community ownership is driving investments in efficient LED streetlights that save energy and money. The Navigant report details the efforts of public power utilities like Seattle City Light to upgrade street lighting to LED technology and how investor-owned utilities are lagging behind in adopting LEDs.

City Light is a national leader in the adoption of LED streetlights. The utility replaced 41,000 residential streetlights with LEDs and has started a project to upgrade streetlights along arterial roads and in commercial areas. This is one of the largest conversions in the United States and is already saving the municipalities City Light serves more than $2.4 million each year. Additionally, City Light’s Edward Smalley served as director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Municipal Solid State Street Lighting Consortium for four years, encouraging other communities throughout the country to use the energy efficient lighting.

Public ownership means we share the values of our community. As the Nation’s Greenest Utility, we pride ourselves at City Light for being innovators committed to providing low-cost, reliable electricity in an environmentally responsible manner along with excellent customer service. Efficient, cost-saving LED street lighting is one of the many reasons to celebrate Public Power Week.

What Does Public Power Mean To YOU? Celebrate Public Power Week, Oct. 5 – 11

This week, Oct. 5-11, local citizens, communities and government officials are taking part in celebrating the  the 28th annual Public Power Week, a nationwide program that celebrates the importance of public power.

Seattle City Light, the 10th largest public utility in the United States, was the first municipally owned electric utility in the nation.  City Light continues to be publicly owned and has served its Seattle customers now for more than 105 years.

City Light got its start in 1902 when Seattle voters approved a bond measure to develop a hydroelectric facility on the Cedar River, the nation’s first municipally-owned hydro project. Today, the utility has grown to more than 1,800 employees, seven hydroelectric plants and 14 major substations. It serves more than 408,000 customers in the city of Seattle and eight adjacent communities.

Ross Dam, part of Seattle City Light’s Skagit Hydroelectric Project.

Programs at City Light deliberately avoid the release of more than 663,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. That’s the equivalent of taking 146,000 cars off the road each year! This focus on the environment  inspires our identity as The Nation’s Greenest Utility. More than 90 percent of City Light’s electricity is generated by hydroelectric facilities and 94.2 percent of City Light’s electricity, in total, comes from clean energy sources.

City Light recognizes its impact on natural resources that are vital to the life of the Pacific Northwest, so the utility also acquires property to preserve wildlife and fish habitats, protecting a total of 13,075 acres of land. The Skagit River Hydroelectric Project Wildlife Mitigation Program alone has grown to total 10,300 acres, providing critical habitat for a wide range of animals and including high quality, old-growth conifer forest.

The utility’s conservation program just surpassed its 37 year, the longest in the nation. In 2011, City Light conservation programs helped customers reduce their energy consumption by 1.1 million megawatt-hours. That’s enough electricity to power 124,000 Seattle homes – nearly one third of the utility’s residential service. Customers who participated in conservation programs reduced their City Light bills by a combined $797 million, half of those savings went to residential customers.

When it comes to giving back to the public and community, City Light partakes in numerous efforts. Whether it is assisting low-income homeowners improve their residence through green-minded renovations, engaging with students to help educate them on energy conservation or even supporting income qualified customers with their electric bills – Seattle City Light actively works to be a public steward for its customers.

Celebrate Public Power Week and let Seattle City Light know what public power means to you!