City of Seattle - City Light Department (Seattle City Light) keeps guitars humming and coffee grinders running in the Seattle metropolitan area. The US's 10th largest municipally owned power company, Seattle City Light transmits and distributes electricity to almost 1 million residential, commercial, industrial, and government customers and owns hydroelectric power plants with more than 1,800 MW of generation capacity. The utility also purchases power from the Bonneville Power Administration and other generators, and it sells power to wholesale customers.
Seattle City Light reported a jump of 5% in revenues in 2011 as the result of a 14% rate increase in 2010 (its first since 2002) and abundant regional rainfall, which allowed the company to sell excess hydro power. Net income spiked by more than 300% for the year thanks to ramped up revenues and surplus power (which reduced the expenses of buying power from third party sources), and an increase in capital contributions and grants.
The company's long term objective is to continue to secure reliable, low-cost, and environmentally-sensitive power for its customers. To lower costs the utility is pushing its customers to conserve by taking green energy options such as installing more energy-efficient appliances and by buying renewable energy credits (allowing customers to pay for slightly higher costs of integrating renewable energy into the region's power grid). Seattle City Light is the first utility in the nation to be greenhouse gas neutral in its power generation (an achievement it obtained in 2005).
The company's new six-year strategic plan, adopted in 2012, calls for an annual rate increase of 4.7 % to pay for expanding Seattle City Light's infrastructure and services, including building its first electric substation for 30 years.
Evolving from several neighborhood electric companies that began serving Seattle in 1886, Seattle City Light was created in 1902 to power the city's streetlights.
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