This is the first of an occasional series of stories featuring some of the interesting jobs and work at Your Seattle City Light.
Delivering electricity to about 410,000 homes and business accounts in the greater Seattle area and providing great customer service to the more than1 million people who receive City Light service requires a significant organization of people, facilities and equipment. At Seattle City Light, this translates into a $1.2 billion annual budget, to operate, maintain and enhance the hydroelectric dams that generate electricity, the transmission lines that carry power to our substations and the distribution system that then delivers it to our customers.
With such a large operation, the utility requires a solid internal infrastructure. This includes areas of corporate governance, regulatory compliance, risk management and management controls. To assist in managing these efforts, Seattle City Light is creating an internal audit team.
Internal auditing is an independent, objective assurance and consulting function designed to add value to and improve an organization’s compliance functions. It helps an organization accomplish these goals by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve efficiencies and internal control effectiveness.
“The internal auditor is often described as the organization’s independent advisor who can challenge current practice, champion best practices and be a catalyst for improvement, with the objective of ensuring that the organization as a whole can achieve its strategic objectives,” said Jeff Bishop, Seattle City Light’s chief financial officer.
Seattle City Light is in the process of hiring four auditors and a manager to create its own internal audit team. The new audit team will report to Jeff Bishop and Superintendent Jorge Carrasco.
The major areas that the Internal Audit group will be in charge of include:
- Reliability of controls and reporting
- Compliance with laws and regulations
- Safeguarding of assets
- Effectiveness and efficiency of operations
Handling these responsibilities should mean increased efficiencies and lower operating costs. The six-year strategic plan calls for improved efficiencies to keep customer rates among the lowest of any urban are in the country.
City Light is hiring for the audit team manager position first. The selected manager would then help with hiring the rest of the team.
The ideal candidates for City Light’s new audit team would be certified public accountants and certified internal auditors. Technical written and verbal communication skills are needed to effectively communicate with vendors, management, and various City Light departments in a poised and tactful manner. Internal audit also requires critical thinking skills as well as sensitivity to confidential information.
Seattle City Light is the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States. It has some of 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.