Seattle City Light realized a visionary conservation effort in 2008 that will forever change the way we do business. Because the time is gone when we can build another dam to meet increasing demands for power, City Light turns to its workhorse – conservation. Saving energy is our new power plant. This 2008 Annual Report seeks to tell the story of how we’re fulfilling conservation’s promise while meeting our highest goal – to deliver the best customer service experience of any utility in the nation. Read the report here.
Seattle City Light customers will soon have a new tool to help them track their energy usage and get personalized recommendations for improving their energy efficiency thanks to a partnership between City Light and Microsoft.
Microsoft announced a free online application called Hohm today that analyzes users’ energy data, home features and appliances then provides personalized energy saving recommendations, which could range from placing new caulking on windows and removing air leaks to installing a programmable thermostat. The name is a combination of “home” and “ohm,” which is the standard unit of measure for electrical resistance.
“As a publicly-owned utility, we produce low-cost, environmentally responsible power,” said Seattle City Light Superintendent Jorge Carrasco. “Microsoft Hohm will give our customers information that lets them make smart decisions about their energy use while potentially saving money.”
City Light is one of only four utilities in the country to partner with Microsoft on the Hohm application, which is expected to launch soon.
Hohm uses advanced analytics licensed from Lawrence Berkeley Labs and the Department of Energy to power its data crunching and identify appropriate recommendations.
“Microsoft and Seattle City Light share a similar commitment to advancing the conservation efforts of consumers,” said Craig Mundie, Microsoft’s chief research and strategy officer. “Software is strategic in addressing the energy challenge. With Microsoft Hohm, Seattle City Light can offer their customers an easy to use tool to start saving money and cut back their energy consumption.”
Seattle City Light is a national leader in energy conservation. The utility has promoted energy conservation for more than 30 years and has set a goal of doubling the community’s energy savings over the next five years.
Numerous incentives and rebates are available to help customers improve the energy efficiency of their homes and businesses. Among them are discounts on compact fluorescent light bulbs, rebates on energy efficient light fixtures and washing machines, rebates for recycling an old refrigerator and a rebate on the installation of a ductless heat pump.
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.
The Seattle Aquarium unveiled Seattle’s first solar hot water demonstration project June 16, a system that will reduce the Aquarium’s use of natural gas by preheating water used in the second floor café. Installed with financial support from Seattle City Light and Puget Sound Energy, the five solar panels will shrink the Aquarium’s carbon footprint by 2.5 tons of CO2 each year, and teach the Aquarium’s 800,000 visitors about renewable energy sources.
“Sustainable energy is linked to sustainable oceans,” Aquarium Director John Braden said. “Over 200 years of increasing CO2 emissions have carbonated the oceans and increased its acidity, threatening marine food webs, including plankton, shellfish, fish, birds, mammals and humans. With this solar project, we hope to provide a model of sustainability that can inspire our visitors and other zoos and aquariums to do what they can to take Climate Action Now.”
The solar hot water system cost about $28,000 to install. City Light and Puget Sound Energy each paid $11,630 with the Aquarium Society contributing $2,000 and the Aquarium paying $3,000.
“Seattle might be known as Rain City, but solar works in Seattle,” Seattle City Light Conservation Director Bob Balzar said. “This public-private partnership shows how renewable energy can help us meet our everyday needs while reducing our impact on the planet.”
This is the first solar hot water demonstration project in Seattle. Both utilities have installed numerous solar electric power systems in homes and schools in their service territories. PSE is also using a solar hot water system at its Skagit Service Center in Burlington.
“As a utility, we know that smart energy choices are a vital part of taking care of Puget Sound waters,” said Kimberly Harris, executive vice president and chief resource officer for PSE. “This solar hot water heating project demonstrates how new energy technologies can help preserve our region’s marine life.”
Signage at the Aquarium will provide visitors with information about the project and how solar and other renewable energy could be used in their homes. An interactive display providing real-time data about the system’s performance is planned. City Light and Puget Sound Energy offer a variety of incentives for residents and businesses to install solar equipment and energy-saving features. For more information, please see www.seattle.gov/light or www.pse.com.
SEATTLE — Seattle City Light won four Hermes Creative Awards from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals for its work on the municipal utility’s 2007 Annual Report, Green Up renewable energy program and Skagit Tours as well as its participation in the Skagit River Cleanup.
Hermes Creative Awards recognize outstanding work in the communications and marketing industry. As part of its mission, the Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals fosters and supports the efforts of creative professionals who contribute their unique talents to public service and charitable organizations.
“We have many tremendously talented people at Seattle City Light who strive to provide the best customer service of any utility in the country,” Superintendent Jorge Carrasco said. “Communications is a vital part of that work and it is an honor to see our people recognized for the outstanding job they do.”
Out of more than 3,700 entries, City Light won two platinum awards, two gold awards and two honorable mentions in the 2009 competition.
“Annual Report 2007,” a project led by Sr. Public Relations Specialist Mike Eagan, won a platinum award in the publications/annual report category. The report highlighted City Light’s work in 2007 with a focus on “A Climate of Change.”
“Green Up Explainer,” produced by City Light New Media Producer Peter Clarke, won a platinum award in the video/educational category. The video outlines how customers can purchase green energy credits for all or a portion of their electricity use through City Light’s Green Up program. Watch the video at http://www.seattlechannel.org/videos/video.asp?ID=8050809
“Green Up – Blowing in the Wind,” a television commercial designed by Sr. Strategic Advisor Janice Boman, won a gold award in the ads/advertising campaign category. The spot, which was produced by and aired on KOMO TV, describes how wind energy is available to City Light customers through Green Up. Watch it at http://www.seattlechannel.org/videos/video.asp?ID=8050811
A publicity campaign for Skagit Tours led by Boman won a gold award in the publicity campaign category. City Light provides tours of its Skagit River Hydroelectric Project each summer.
Green Up promotions designed by Boman won a gold award in the ads/point of purchase category.
And Seattle City Light’s participation in the volunteer Skagit River Cleanup won honorable mention in the special event category. Sr. Strategic Advisor Scott Thomsen led promotions and recruiting for the project. Over the past three years, dozens of City Light volunteers have helped remove more than 9,500 pounds of trash from the Skagit River.
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.
Repair Crews Dispatched to Identify Cause, Make Repairs
SEATTLE – About 3,600 homes and businesses in the Queen Anne, Interbay and Magnolia neighborhoods lost power about 1:30 p.m. today.
Seattle City Light immediately sent crews to identify the cause and make repairs.
The area affected by the outage generally follows from the south end of Lake Union along the Ship Canal into Discovery Park.
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Seattle City Light is a publicly owned utility dedicated to exceeding our customers’ expectations in producing and delivering low cost, reliable power in an environmentally responsible and safe way. We are committed to delivering the best customer service experience of any utility in the nation.