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 revenue increase of 4% in 2012 was primarily due to a retail revenue rise of 4%. Nonoperating revenues grew $2.2 million to $12.7 million, while noncapital grants for environmental cleanup and from FEMA (for storm damage) grew by $1.4 million.
The utility's net income grew by 15% in 2012 due to higher retail power sales and Rate Stabilization Account deferred revenue transferred-in, coupled with lower Bonneville Power Administration purchased power costs and lower customer service expenses. These were offset by higher depreciation and administrative and general costs, and lower net wholesale energy revenues, power related revenues, and capital 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).
The company's 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 1910 to power the city's streetlights. In 2005 the electric utility became the first in the US to become greenhouse gas neutral in its power generation.
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