City Light’s Commitment to Safe Employees and Reliable Service During the COVID-19 Crisis

Photo of the City Light sign at the utility's South Service Center.

Seattle City Light is committed to the well-being of our employees and the community we serve. Our service is an essential need, and its reliability is a top priority. In order to maintain system reliability while keeping our employees safe, we have instituted a number of measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We’re keeping employees safe and healthy.

We’re regularly distributing information about COVID-19, including general health and safety tips, resources for teleworking and other guidance to all Seattle City Light employees. It’s all collected on an internal employee website for easy access from any place, any time.

We’re accommodating high-risk employees (e.g., over 60, those with underlying health conditions, those with compromised immune systems, or who are pregnant) by ensuring they have alternative work arrangements that keep them out of harm’s way.

Anyone who can telework has been encouraged to do so. We’re providing employees with resources and training to support telework that is appropriate for their duties.  

Those who must work in a City Light facility are practicing safe social distancing; access to those locations is limited to essential employees.

We’re enhancing cleaning practices, encouraging self-responsibility (e.g., hand washing, social distancing, cleaning of tools and trucks) and distributing hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies to those who must report to our facilities.

For those who work in the field, we’ve switched to Skype calls instead of in-person meetings and we are finding alternatives to sharing work vehicles (e.g. driving personal vehicles to job sites) so they can maintain proper social distancing.

We are prioritizing essential critical infrastructure work and doing work in a way that minimizes planned service disruptions. On job sites, crews will carry proof that the work they are doing qualifies as essential critical infrastructure work in accordance with Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home – Stay Healthy” Order. We have put protocols in place to ensure work on those sites meets all COVID-19 guidelines from CDC, Washington Department of Health, and OHSA.

When our crews perform work in public, they are utilizing personal protective equipment and practicing social distancing as allowed by the work. Please be aware that due to the nature of our work maintaining the electrical system, some essential tasks require that crew members work closely together for their safety. Crews are minimizing the length of time spent in close proximity to the best of their ability.

We’re keeping the lights on and assisting those who are struggling.

We’re continuing to do necessary maintenance and upgrades to ensure system reliability. And we’re committed to doing it safely. That means crews are maintaining social distancing in the field as the job allows; we ask that the public maintains that same social distance if you come upon a crew at work.  

Planned outages can be burdensome, and even more so now, but they hopefully minimize unplanned outages. We’ll do our best to have the lowest impact on customers. Again, we’re deferring non-essential work, so any planned outages at this time are for essential work.

As always, we’re fully prepared to respond to any unplanned outages. If you experience an outage, report it and/or track its repair.

During the COVID-19 Emergency Declaration, we won’t shut off service for non-payment. In fact, crisis or not, we will never call you or knock on your door and demand payment. If someone says otherwise, they are running a scam; report it here.

We’re here to help any customer, resident or business, struggling to pay their utility bill due to COVID-19 with deferred payment plans. Call 206-684-3000 or send an email 24/7 at http://www.seattle.gov/utilities/about-us/email-question. Income-eligible residential customers can also sign up for the Utility Discount Program at www.seattle.gov/udp. We’ve fast-tracked a self-certified application to make the process easier.

We’re all in this together.

The COVID-19 health crisis has brought sweeping changes to the way we all live, work and play. We hope to return to normal operations soon, but until then it is essential to follow guidance from the experts: Public Health -Seattle & King County, Washington State Department of Health (DOH), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

For your own health, the health of our community, and to assist in the crucial work of our first responders, please honor Governor Inslee’s March 23 Proclamation 20-25: Stay Home — Stay Healthy.