SCL Strategic Plan Update

Adopt a Strategic Plan for 2021-2026 and at each two-year forward review that includes not only environmental stewardship goals but aggressive, measurable goals for supporting wide-spread building energy use and thermal efficiency programs and conversion of buildings to efficient electric heat and hot water, consistent with a long-term goal of 80% of buildings by 2040. Study how tariffs can be designed that will incentivize and subsidize low-income customers’ participation in these programs.

Background

Seattle City Light has a six-year Strategic Plan that covers 2019-2024. The current Strategic Plans describes how City Light needs to increase its rates because retail use of electricity is falling due to improved energy efficiency, but the fixed cost of providing hydropower has been rising. This trend caught City Light by surprise, and its forecasts were higher than actual usage most of the five years before the plan was adopted. As a result, the Strategic Plan calls for raising rates an average of about 4.5% per year to cover the difference and allow them to continue making investments.

Note that this decrease in retail consumption is exactly the opposite of what we expect if transportation and buildings are electrified as is necessary in order to reduce carbon emissions. The Strategic Plan, although it covers a six year span, is updated every two years. For the next update expected in 2021, it is critical that City Light revise its usage projections to include these increases.

Questions

  • What does the overall total & retail usage curve for City Light look like since 2019, and have the projections been accurate? What is City Light assuming for future population growth, and have their past assumptions been accurate?

  • What would the load growth be if Seattle were on a path to meet its goals for transportation & building electrification?