Seattle City Light remains committed to providing safe and reliable power while prioritizing the safety of our customers and crews. While planned outages are important to maintaining and upgrading our infrastructure, outages can be burdensome, and even more so as our customers are at home working, teaching children, and maintaining a healthy life during the COVID-19 crisis. We’re temporarily adjusting our work to have the lowest impact on customers during this time.
Effective immediately, there will be no planned outages that will cause a service disruption for our customers. Exceptions to this include emergency pole replacements where the work cannot safely be performed hot,* emergency work necessary to restore service for customers who may be experiencing an outage, or to add a service connection for an essential facility (quarantine site, homeless shelter, etc.). As able, City Light will provide at least 48 hours advance notification for any of these situations.
Other pole replacement work will continue by placing new poles adjacent to poles in need of replacement and lashing them to the existing infrastructure, but we will wait until later to transfer services.** City Light also will continue to do streetlight work and other work deemed essential as long as it does not require outages. Any work is in accordance with Governor Inslee’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order and with protocols in place to meet all COVID-19 guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Washington Department of Health, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
We will maintain this pause in planned outages at least through May 31, in alignment with the governor’s order. We recognize even as that order is lifted, many customers may continue to work or attend school from home. We will be thoughtful in our resumption of these activities, which are required to make repairs and upgrades to our infrastructure in a safe and efficient manner and will do our best to work with customers to minimize impacts.
*Doing the work “hot” simply means that crews are working while the electrical equipment is energized. Crews are utilizing these methods to complete the work, while minimizing the outage impacts to customers. Crews take additional safety procedures when utilizing this method.
** Double poles exist when a new utility pole is installed next to a pre-existing pole that is scheduled for removal. When new utility poles are installed, City Light normally transfers our equipment and wires onto the new pole. Other communication utilities may also have equipment on the pre-existing pole that will need to be transferred to the new pole before the old pole can be removed. This could take several months to complete. Some poles may be anchored or tied to the pre-existing pole to secure it until the utility and communications companies have transferred their equipment. This is normal practice and common among utilities.
This information was updated on May 15, 2020.