Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell

Archive for January 31st, 2010

Jan 31 2010

Councilmember Harrell Limits City Light’s Use of Overtime

Published by under Seattle City Light

I am always concerned about saving taxpayer and ratepayer money. Based on my concern relative to City Light’s Operations and Maintenance (O&M) expenditures, I sponsored a proviso in the 2009 budget which limited their Distribution Services overtime expenditure to $3,000,000. The proviso further stated that authorization to exceed this limit will not be granted until the Utility provides Council with a written explanation of how overtime will be managed in the future. In 2009, City Light responded by taking measures to manage and control their overtime spending. The controls resulted in an 18% reduction in overtime spending compared to 2008 and 21% reduction from 2007.

Here are a few practical steps that were taken to improve crew efficiency:

  • 1. Limiting monthly mandatory safety meetings to approximately 1 hour
  • 2. Eliminating non-essential group meetings
  • 3. Reducing training time or combining it with other activities
  • 4. Decreasing “loading dock” setup and breakdown time

I applaud City Light and its crews on their efforts to curtail overtime spending and I understand that some level of overtime is necessary. Even with decreased overtime, City Light has done a great job of keeping outages at or below their goal of 1 per month. I will continue to look for ways to create efficiencies at the Utility and keep rates low. Again, these efforts do not exclude our work on conservation, building a reliable infrastructure or deferring to the good judgment of our field workers. It is however, an acknowledgment that City Light must remain a high performing organization and we will continue to look at ways to operate more efficiently.

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