In the month since Mayor Greg Nickels accelerated funding for streetlight replacement and repair, Seattle City Light has replaced 3,000 lights as part of its continuing relamping program and completed relamping work in Belltown.
“City Light recognizes the importance of good street lighting for our residents, local businesses and neighborhoods,” Superintendent Jorge Carrasco said. “It improves safety and promotes community pride. We are working hard to make improvements as quickly as possible.”
The city’s general fund pays City Light more than $9 million annually for the costs of building, operating, and maintaining streetlights. Under the Mayor’s plan, $2.1 million allocated in the 2009-2010 general fund budget for street light repairs is being spent earlier to speed up street lamp replacement.
City Light started a planned relamping program in 2008 to systematically replace streetlight bulbs before they failed. During the four-year period that started in 2008, City Light plans to replace all 84,000 lights in its service territory. This approach reduces streetlight failures and maintenance costs.
With part of the accelerated funding, crews completed relamping work in the Belltown neighborhood July 1. They are now concentrating on the Downtown core and the International District. The contractor working for City Light is scheduled to install 21,000 new lamps by December as part of the 2009 relamping project.
Also in the first month since receiving the accelerated funding, City Light has reduced the backlog of streetlights needing repair by 14 percent to about 3,700 lights. City Light’s goal is to eliminate the backlog and reduce average repair time to 10 days by the end of the year.
Seattle City Light is the ninth largest public electric utility in the United States. It has the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to nearly 1 million Seattle area residents. City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.