2022 Tacoma Power Highlights
Tacoma Power’s mission is to provide affordable and reliable electric services, aa mission we proudly delivered despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain issues, and climate change impacts.
For over 125 years, Tacoma Power has used clean, renewable hydropower to generate energy and transmit and distribute electricity across our community. In 2022, we served approximately 183,524 customers as compared to 181,630 in 2021. Despite extreme weather and COVID’s continued influence, our utility provided 99.986% availability to our customers in 2022.
Acting From Our Values
Our values guide our behaviors and decisions to help us achieve our guiding principle of Community Value First:
- Be safe, always.
- Learn and be curious.
- Do the right thing, even when it’s hard.
- Take care of things for future generations.
- Rely on and respect each other.
Be safe, always
Our leadership interacts with employees to learn about safety issues and hear suggestions. These leadership engagements form the backbone of our strong safety culture. Leaders at all levels of Tacoma Power completed 395 of these engagements—meeting with crews at job sites, attending safety meetings, and traveling to our facilities across the region to focus on safety.
In 2022, Tacoma Power employees submitted 76 safety corrective actions intended to eliminate a potential source of injury or adverse health effect. Of the 76 submitted, 50 were addressed and closed in 2022. Forty-two were addressed in 60 days or fewer. Fifteen remain open and 10 were referred to other groups.
Tacoma Power owns and operates four hydroelectric projects in remote areas of Western Washington which include parks and campgrounds. In these rural areas, communication between workers in the field can be a problem. Cell phone reception can be unreliable, and handheld radios can be affected by dead zones. Our Cowlitz hydro project staff proposed a solution to increase safety for workers out alone in the field with limited means of communication using a well-vetted outdoor communication device.
Our grounds maintenance and Nisqually River hydro project staff worked together to take major steps to increase efficiency and encourage safe work near the river. Crews maintain riverbeds raft down the river with a rowing frame and oars. The team implemented a second raft and created a hitching device to transport the raft from the truck to the shoreline, eliminating the need to carry the rafts long distances and improving the crew safety.
Learn and be curious
Cybersecurity is one of our top priorities. Our cybersecurity team monitors, adds, and updates systems that help protect electronic assets the entire utility and provides annual trainings for employees across the City of Tacoma. The training team also provides continued learning opportunities for employees, such as phishing campaigns, to help develop and assess employee recognition skills, internal newsletter stories. All Tacoma Power employees completed their required cybersecurity training in 2022.
Do the right thing, even when it’s hard
Every three years,Tacoma Power is audited by the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC), the entity responsible for monitoring and enforcing compliance with North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) federal regulatory standards in our region. WECC audits require meticulous preparation, and 2022 marked the first virtual audit. , Tacoma Power received high marks from WECC in the 2022 audit.
As a department of the City of Tacoma, our utility is on a biennial budget cycle. Using our Guiding Principle of Community Value First, our staff worked hard to develop a budget that supports the operational needs of the utility while maintaining low rates despite record inflation. To minimize the impacts of our rate increases for our income constrained customers, we increased our investment in customer assistance programs and modified requirements to make benefits available to more customers.
Our meter shop exchanged approximately old 83,000 electric meters with new, advanced electric meters and installed approximately 2700 meters for new customers. The meters were installed at residential, small- and medium-sized commercial services, large commercial, and for solar installations. Meter shop leadership foresaw the potential for supply chain issues at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and proactively ordered meters. This allowed us to meet this milestone which also keeps us on track for a full deployment estimated to be completed in 2024.
Take care of things for future generations
Tacoma Power went live in the Western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) in 2022. Being a part of the EIM enables participants anywhere in the West to offer excess generation capacity or buy lower-cost wholesale power when needed. The go-live was the result of years of preparation like installing new software systems, IT infrastructure upgrades, and careful cross-departmental collaboration involving over 80 staff members.
Tacoma Power received the Tree Line USA award from the Arbor Day Foundation for the 18th year in a row in recognition for our commitment to proper tree pruning, planting, and care. Tree Line USA, a partnership between the Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters, recognizes public and private utilities for pursuing practices that protect and enhance America’s urban trees, and promotes the dual goals of delivering safe and reliable electricity while maintaining healthy community forests.
Rely on and respect each other
In 2018, Tacoma Power joined with 18 other Pacific Northwest utilities to work together toward future resource adequacy—fulfilling our mission into the future through meeting the needs of our customers, frequent extreme weather, and increased demand due to electrification. The Western Resource Adequacy Program (WRAP) is the first regional reliability planning and compliance program in the history of the western United States. It will deliver a region-wide approach for assessing and addressing resource adequacy and provide an important step forward for reliability in the region.
Over the past year, our training and apprenticeship team led planning and development process to create a pre-apprenticeship Program. This program will serve as an additional pathway to broaden and diversify the pool of qualified candidates who can successfully compete for the Tacoma Power Apprenticeship programs. The 2022 Line Apprenticeship Program welcomed a female line apprentice for the first time in many years.
In 2022, we continued to shift and adapt to changing needs. We appreciate our customers and our dedicated staff.