COVID-19 Response: An open letter from City Light CEO, Debra Smith

At Seattle City Light we are working hard to react quickly to COVID-19 while remaining committed to the well-being, both physical and financial, of our dedicated employees and the communities we serve. We’re doing our best to navigate through this unprecedented event as each day brings new developments.

Our service is an essential need, and its reliability is a top priority. With the Emergency Declaration, and more recently Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” Order, we continue adjusting the way we work to ensure employee and customer safety while we maintain critical services.

To learn more about the steps Seattle City Light has taken to keep our employees safe and our customers supported, see our Powerlines Blog.

Here are a few highlights about how we’re serving customers during this time:

Infrastructure Work

We are prioritizing essential critical infrastructure work and doing work in a way that minimizes planned service disruptions. This is in accordance with Governor Inslee’s order and with protocols in place to meet all COVID-19 guidelines from the CDC, Washington Department of Health, and OSHA.

Please be aware that due to the nature of our work maintaining the electrical system, some essential tasks require crew members to work closely together for their safety. So, if you see a few lineworkers working side by side, please know they’re doing it for good reason and are minimizing close proximity as much as they can to safely complete the job.

And please do your part by keeping a safe distance – always a good idea when it comes to working with electricity, whether we’re avoiding a virus or not!

Power Outages

We understand power outages are burdensome, but even more so now. While the stay-at-home order is in place, we won’t intentionally cut power to complete a job unless it’s an emergency, in support of COVID-19 response, or an essential service project that is coordinated in advance (e.g., establishing power for sites used as temporary shelter or field hospitals).

We’ve had pretty mild weather lately, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t on our minds. If the winds pick up and cause outages, as always, we are prepared, ready to respond and will keep working until your power is restored.

Financial Support

Many people are experiencing financial hardships due to the impact of social distancing and business closures. 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 online.

We’re here to help any customer, resident or business, struggling to pay their utility bill due to COVID-19. Call 206-684-3000 or send an email 24/7. Income-eligible residential customers can also sign up for the Utility Discount Program. We’ve fast-tracked a self-certified application to make the process easier.

Payment Centers

To keep you and our employees healthy, all walk-in centers will remain closed during this time. You can still use the payment drop boxes, and we’re always here to help you with account and billing needs online or over the phone at (206) 684-3000.

City and State Resources

Finally, Mayor Durkan and Governor Inslee have expanded and created many programs to support our community. If you or someone you know needs shelter, food or other help, please check their resource pages.

I will update our customers as things change. You are always my number one priority, and that remains especially true during this time. Please continue to support one another and stay healthy.

Take Care.

Debra Smith
General Manager and CEO, Seattle City Light