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Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell

Archive for December, 2009

Dec 16 2009

Councilmember Harrell Calls for a Smart Grid

This afternoon (12/16/09), I issued a press release calling for a Smart Grid. Below is a post with more information.

System would save people money, modernize City Light’s basic infrastructure and increase reliability and conservation

SEATTLE – In an effort to position City Light on the cutting edge of customer service, Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell has directed the Utility to develop a specific plan for the development of a Smart Grid in 2010. “I want a plan that puts the Full Council and the Executive in a position to make a funding decision for Smart Grid deployment by the middle of 2010,” says Councilmember Harrell. A Smart Grid basically adds two-way communication technology to the existing electrical grid where power and information can flow between the utility and the customer to create a system that operates more efficiently and reliably. It will also result in giving customers more control over their power consumption.

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Dec 16 2009

Why I am calling for the development of a Smart Grid: A Forward Thinking Vision to Deliver Low-Cost, Clean Electricity

Seattle City Light is uniquely positioned to provide low-cost, clean electricity to our customers—who own the public utility. Approximately 88.83% of Seattle City Light’s electricity generation is from hydro, a renewable energy. In comparison, about 50% of the United States electrical production comes from coal. The carbon footprint of coal is approximately 1000 grams of CO2 per kWh of electricity generated when compared to 10-30 grams of CO2 per kWh of electricity generated from hydro. Seattle City Light offers an average rate of 6.42 cents per kWh, compared to the national average of 9.7 cents per kWh. With the commitment Seattle and Washington state has demonstrated with the passage of I-937 in 2006 (3%-renewable energy of its load by 2012, 9%-renewable energy of its load by 2016, and 15%-renewable energy of its load by 2020) and Seattle City Light’s commitment with a 5-Year Conservation Plan to avoid 1 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, what is the next step to continue providing the lowest rates and the cleanest electricity in Seattle?

That next step is Smart Grid. IBM’s slogan is “building a smarter planet.” Smart grid is the answer for building a smarter Seattle. Smart grid is a revolutionary change in how a utility generates and distributes electricity. The revolution has begun, with a federal stimulus package of $3.4 billion for smart grid technology. From these funds, $9.6 million was granted to Seattle City Light and the University of Washington for the development of a “smart micro grid” on the Seattle campus. Consumer education and engaging the public on what exactly is a smart grid and how it helps residents is absolutely vital as we discuss the development of a smart grid. Continue Reading »

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Dec 14 2009

Respecting and Roasting outgoing Councilmembers McIver, Drago

Surrounded at Seattle’s Royal Esquire Club with colleagues, friends and family, on November 5, 2009, Councilmember Richard McIver was honored with a final salute as he retires from the Seattle City Council. Those closest to him thought the best way to say farewell was to “roast” him out of office – and they did!

I had the honor of kicking the program off with help from many honored guests, including outgoing Mayor Greg Nickels, Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis, PSRC’s Bob Drewel, four City Councilmembers, and a host of community leaders — including Roberto Maestas, Joann Francis, and Bob Santos. The 250 guests learned that one of McIver’s highest priorities was to “represent the under-represented.”

In a video presentation, when CR Douglas asked CM McIver what he will do after 13 years on the Council, McIver responded, “Nothing! I’d come down and sit beside Mr. Locke (a citizen who attends all city hall meetings) and I’d become the Council’s boss as a taxpayer.”

On December 9, 2009, I attended for outgoing Councilmember Jan Drago, a celebration at the Mayflower Park Hotel where she was recognized for her 4 terms of service. Her theme was “Dance with the one who brung you to the party” and she was surrounded by many guests, colleagues, activists and well wishers, many of whom were instrumental in helping her launch her political career 16 years ago. CM Drago’s work on issues such as transportation and the arts were praised by many. CM Drago’s style of being direct, candid and action-oriented will be missed.

This week, there will be a joint retirement party honoring Councilmembers Drago and McIver. The event will take place at City Hall’s Bertha Knight Landes Room on Tuesday, December 15th at 4:30 p.m.

I was honored to have worked with my friends “Jan” and “Dick”. If there is one quality that they both exemplified, it was integrity. They never backed away from their values and beliefs and supported legislation that was consistent with these values and beliefs. In other words, they were true to themselves and true to the causes they believed in. Farewell my friends!!!

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Dec 12 2009

New: 2010 Council Committees Change

Published by under Council Committees

Every two years, Councilmembers have the opportunity to decide the committees they want to chair, vice chair or be a member. Using my years of experience as an attorney working with utilities, I have elected to continue Chairing the Energy and Technology Committee. However, I have added Civil Rights (Seattle’s Office of Civil Rights) and have started a new concept for the Council to direct policy – Customer Service. Much of the work I have done in the last two years has focused on the issue: Does the City of Seattle offer outstanding customer service?

I will vice chair Seattle Public Utilities and Neighborhoods and now be in the position to significantly measure and improve “Customer Service” since I will be actively involved with the largest segment of employees charged with providing it.

I will also Chair a new committee, Law and Risk Management. I will sit on the Parks and Seattle Center Committee, and be an alternate on the Public Safety and Education Committee and Transportation Committee.

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Dec 09 2009

Billion Dollar Minority Business Recognized at Awards Event on December 10th

Published by under Economic Development

Event Recognizes State’s top Minority-Owned Businesses

SEATTLE – December 10th marks the UW Minority Business of the Year Awards Banquet. Sponsored by the UW Business and Economic Development Center (BEDC), it is the only state-wide minority business awards program in the nation, drawing over 500. This year’s event will be attended by CEOs responsible for revenues in our state in excess of $3.3 billion.

Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell says, “I have been working to create an environment in Seattle that supports the growth of small and minority-owned businesses because this sector will be a key player to our region’s economic strength and recovery efforts. As a member of the BEDC, we are building an inclusive network of relationships that work and in this process, recognizing the achievements of some of the top businesses in our state.” Of the state’s 50 largest minority-owned businesses, 13 are Seattle based with combined revenues of $465 million. The largest Seattle minority-owned business is Town and Country Markets with revenues of $209 million and 950 employees based in Ballard.

This year’s event will recognize PetroCard, a business based in Kent as the state’s first minority-owned business with revenues of more than $1 billion. Additionally, five of the state’s minority- owned businesses will also receive special recognition.

The UW Minority Business of the Year Awards banquet takes place on December 10, 2009 at 5:30 at the Westin Hotel Grand Ballroom II & III, 1900 5th Avenue, Seattle.

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Dec 06 2009

City Light Reaches Elite Status: 2009 Accomplishments

Our Energy and Technology Committee recently reviewed City Light’s key milestones for the 2009 year. I am very pleased to report that City Light has been rated as an “Elite Utility” in terms of customer service by J.D. Power and Associates.

Customer Service: City Light continues to improve their customer service. From a base of 84,000 streetlights, in 2008, 19,067 were reported out. In 2009, 12,799 were reported out, which is a 6,268 reduction. The reduction is even greater when we look back to 2004 where there were 23,367 outages. Based on our policy directives, the Utility is on track to achieve a 10-14 day turnaround on streetlight repair in 2010 and outages have been significantly reduced. In addition, phase two of a group re-lamping scheme will be completed by the end of 2009, with phases three and four on track for completion in 2010 and 2011. We have seen great improvement on the streetlight issue and our plan calls for City Light to improve even more. Also, our push for E-billing has become a reality and to date, 26,000 customers have signed up so far. In 2010, I have added “Customer Service” to the ETC committee’s responsibilities as a means to examine City Light, Seattle Public Utilities and the city’s Customer Service Bureau to conduct a “best practices” approach to customer service.

System Reliability. System reliability continues to significantly improve. The average number of outages per customer has fallen below the Utility goal of one per year. We continue to examine the problem areas in our City with an aging underground system and have allocated substantial budget dollars toward their repair. We are also addressing this by injecting gel into the cables. This strengthens the integrity of the cable and extends its life at a lower cost than replacing.

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