Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Pos. 8 – Citywide) and Chair of the Housing, Health, Energy and Workers’ Rights Committee, issued the following statement in response to the Seattle City Council passage of Resolution 31819 adopting the 2019-2024 Seattle City Light Strategic Plan.
“Today’s 8-1 vote adopted the Seattle City Light Strategic Plan and the rate path proposed by Mayor Jenny Durkan and includes a request from the Mayor to transmit a rate path, including an average 4.5% rate increase over the next six years – averaging about $3.77 per month for the typical residential customer in 2019. These rate increases are lower than what was originally proposed by City Light, thanks to the great advocacy of the all-volunteer City Light Review Panel, and tasks the Review Panel with preparing recommendations for rate design changes for the first time in decades thanks to the work of Councilmember Mosqueda, who chaired the Strategic Plan Select Committee.
“As part of the Strategic Plan, City Light will work to reduce the costs associated with large capital projects, as well as Operations and Maintenance costs, with a priority on promoting good, living-wage jobs, workforce stability, and continuing to deliver affordable and clean electricity to customers while maintaining worker safety. Highlights include the Council-added initiative to meaningfully address workplace culture concerns, particularly with respect to gender- and race-based harassment, and fear of retaliation among staff; operationalizing institutional memory, so when workers retire, we don’t lose their knowledge of how the utility operates; and a continued emphasis on energy and nature conservation, ensuring that Seattle City Light remains the Nation’s greenest utility.”
The resolution sponsored by Councilmember Mosqueda also requests that the Review Panel, in collaboration with key community partners and industry experts, begin work this fall on updating how rates are designed and structured, and make recommendations to more equitably apply rates beginning next Summer.
“Rate Design hasn’t been significantly updated since the 1980’s, and this work is long overdue,” Mosqueda continued. The chair said she hopes the Rate Design review process will keep conservation at the forefront, while examining financial policies, and providing Council with the information necessary to update the rate path and consider additional changes in 2019 to ease the impacts of these rate increases on working families and small businesses.
“Through ongoing oversight and collaboration, I look forward to setting a new standard for good governance and engagement with the Review Panel and community, one that ensures City Light is held accountable, while continuing to deliver the best service possible to its customers,” added Mosqueda. “My team will continue to be engaged at a heighted level with City Light, the Mayor’s office, colleagues, and the community at large, to reign in costs, reduce overruns, and address the Rate Design changes needed to make sure City Light can continue to grow into the Public Utility of the Future!”