Mar 07 2010
Seattle City Council Pressed City Light to Fix Neighborhood Streetlight Outage Backlogs
Seattle City Light’s redesigned programs have already improved streetlight service levels for all Seattle utility customers. This has been priority for my Committee and the Council. In December 2009, we redesigned the Streetlight Maintenance Outage Repair Program and discontinued spot re-lamping as the primary method for handling routine outages. In place of a spot re-lamping program, a planned city-wide routine maintenance program was implemented and is now more than 50 percent complete. This reduces the labor costs the Utility has to pay.
Seattle City Light currently powers and maintains nearly 84,000 Seattle streetlights within its service area of 131.3 square miles. After my Energy and Technology Committee focused its work on streetlighting in 2008, City Light installed 42,000 new lamps, covering our service territory south of Denny Way. Additionally, City Light will begin its next phase and will stretch from Denny Way north to 65th Street.
In 2009, the Council’s Energy and Technology Committee funded City Light to implement a new planned routine maintenance program to address as many as 8,000 streetlights that were out of service or needed replacement.
Seattle residents tell me they want City Light to be adaptable and flexible. When residents contact City Light, they want accountability and consistency and they value timely and accurate information. People rightfully expect us to place a priority on long-term planning and affordable rates.
I am particularly pleased when Seattle City Light employees listen to our constituents and recognize the need to be open, responsive and accountable to their customers, particularly in response to streetlighting issues. City Light employees have raised the bar and revamped their internal process for responding to streetlight outages.
The Seattle Municipal Archives offers a historical perspective of Seattle City Light. It documents that City Light was created by the residents of Seattle in 1902 to provide affordable and reliable electric power for the city of Seattle. In a historical letter around 1910, a Seattle City Light employee described the early days:
“[City Light] employees took a personal interest in developing City Light, much as if it were their own business.”
In looking at Seattle City Light’s early years, historical documents tell that employees were doing everything — working in the power plant to feed street lighting, reading all the meters one day, working in offices to get out all the bills out the next day, going out later to make collections, sales, install equipment, or anything else necessary to get the job done.
I believe that the same drive and concern that was exemplified by City Light employees back then have been passed down through the generations to our public servants of today. These are the ones who have raised the bar and have written a new history the City of Seattle can be proud of.
One hundred and eight years since its beginning, Seattle City Light employees are still working to exceed the needs and expectations of Greater Seattle’s 383,000 residential, business, and industrial customers.
We encourage you to follow our progress at www.seattle.gov/light/streetlight. Please feel free to contact us, if you have any questions. Bruce.firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.