City of Tacoma Department of Public Utilities (Tacoma Public Utilities) is fated to fulfill the electric and water desires of the City of Destiny's dwellers. The municipal utility's Tacoma Power unit generates, transmits, and distributes electricity to 160,000 homes and businesses in Tacoma, Washington. Tacoma Water serves more than 300,000 customers; the division's water supply comes from wells and the Green River Watershed. Tacoma Public Utilities also oversees Tacoma Rail, a freight-switching railroad with 75 customers and more than 200 miles of track, and the Click! Network, a high-speed data network that serves 23,790 cable TV customers via more than 1,460 miles of fiber-optic and coaxial cable.
Tacoma Power provides electric service to the city of Tacoma, Fircrest, University Place, Fife, parts of Steilacoom, Lakewood, Joint Base Lewis-McChord and unincorporated Pierce County as far south as Roy. Tacoma Water provides direct service to customers in Pierce and King counties. Tacoma Rail provides freight connections for customers in greater Tacoma and Olympia, Washington.
Tacoma Power has more than 2,330 miles of transmission and distribution lines; Tacoma Water stores 68 million gallons of water in the McMillin Reservoir and 73 million gallons in 18 other reservoirs and standpipes; Tacoma Rail operates 14 diesel locomotives.
Tacoma Power also owns, which provides telecommunications services such as cable television, broadband and wholesale internet services.
About 64% of Tacoma Water's customers are inside the city limits of Tacoma; some 55% of Tacoma Power's customers are located inside the city limits of Tacoma.
Tacoma Rail handles more than 165,000 freight shipments per year.
The company’s revenues grew by 6% to $387.9 million in 2012 primarily due to an average rate increase of 6% which lifted revenues by $14 million. Wheeling revenues grew by $2.9 million primarily due to the assignment of a portion of Tacoma Power’s 3rd Intertie capacity and a rate increase for the Open Access Transmission Tariff. Telecommunications revenues grew by $0.8 million. Wholesale revenues increased $5.4 million after the transfer of $12 million to the rate stabilization fund in 2012.
Average daily prices decreased 19% but this was more than offset by a 17% increase in volume.
However, net income decreased by 23% to 159.1 million in 2012 due to higher operating costs as a result of 6.6% increase in purchased power expenses. Bonneville Power Administration purchases increased by $11 million due to contract changes. Administrative and general expenses increased 11.3% in 2012 (costs included an increase of $1.4 million in contributions to the self-insurance fund).
Tacoma Public Utilities operates entirely from revenues generated from the sale of its utility and rail services, not from taxes. To adjust to declining revenues, the divisions cut operating and maintenance costs, postpone some capital projects, and cut jobs through attrition and adjusted rates.
In 2011, Tacoma Rail, with the help of a $2.5 million grant from the EPA and Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, purchased three eco-friendly locomotives for $4.3 million.
Established in 1892, Tacoma Public Utilities is the largest department of the City of Tacoma, and is governed by the five-member Public Utilities Board. Tacoma Rail has provided rail transportation as a public entity since 1914.