Seattle City Light sends its first diesel hybrid trouble trucks into service today as part of the utility’s commitment to the City’s Climate Action Now efforts and the utility’s goal to cut fuel use, shrink its carbon footprint, and improve customer service by reducing the noise of repair work.
“These vehicles demonstrate City Light’s commitment to providing to reducing our carbon footprint while providing environmentally responsible customer service,” Superintendent Jorge Carrasco said. “This is a win for our customers, the utility and the environment and demonstrates City Light’s continuing national leadership on reducing greenhouse gases.”
The two trouble trucks operate on hybrid diesel electric motors, which get about 25 percent better fuel economy when driving than traditional diesel vehicles. The biggest savings happens when the trucks get to a job site. Instead of idling the engine to run the bucket hydraulics, crews turn off the engine and run the bucket on the vehicle’s battery. This results in a 60 to 70 percent reduction in total fuel use, and greenhouse gas emissions.
“As part of Seattle’s Climate Action Now initiative,” Carrasco said. “Putting more fuel-efficient large fleet vehicles into service is a big step. It’s important that our customers know we are reducing our environmental impact while meeting their energy needs. We want them to know that we are ‘walking the talk.’”
Working without the engine running also reduces the amount of noise crews will make while doing their jobs. City Light has assigned both vehicles to swing shift crews for evening work when this feature will provide the most benefit to customers.
City Light acquired the trucks through its participation in a program by the Electric Power Research Institute. EPRI promotes energy efficiency, electric-drive vehicles and smart-grid technology.
In 2005, Seattle City Light became the first large utility in the nation to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and has continued that status ever since. It remains the only large utility in the United States to achieve such success.
City Light is a municipally owned utility that provides electricity to about 1 million people in the greater Seattle area, who enjoy the lowest rates in the region and of any large city in the country.