2019 Tacoma Power Highlights
A Modern Future for a Historical Utility
For over 125 years, Tacoma Power has been a citizen-owned electric utility that generates, transmits, and distributes clean energy to our community. In 2019, that meant serving 182,000 customers compared to 178,000 in 2018. With 959 employees, the utility continued its commitment to providing competitive, reliable energy to customers while making many advancements that have launched us towards becoming a more modern utility.
Energy Efficiency Savings for the Future
Tacoma Power serves its retail load with clean, renewable hydropower. The utility also continued its investment energy efficiency programs, and as a result does not anticipate the need to acquire additional power supply in the forseeable future.
As the result of consistent proactive maintenance, Tacoma Power’s hydroelectric fleet provided 99% availability when called upon in 2019.
Tacoma Public Utilities partnered with Tacoma Power, and Pierce Transit to implement the first electric vanpool pilot in Pierce County at the TPU Administrative Complex.
Looking Forward to a New Era
In mid-2019, Tacoma Power began efforts to refresh its strategic plan. The utility accomplished many of the initiatives in its previous plan which was put into place in 2016, The utility will launch its new strategic plan in early 2020 and focus on affordability for customers, equity in the workplace, and the community, and on giving customers access to new and improved services that better meet their needs. Also, the utility partnered with the City of Tacoma to foster a culture of continuous improvement.
Tacoma Power made significant progress with its cybersecurity capabilities by deploying security controls to more control systems and launching a robust cybersecurity awareness campaign.
The utility’s Leadership Engagement And Development program (L.E.A.D.) launched in 2018 with a five-day program. In 2019, 98 percent of Tacoma Power’s leads, supervisors, managers, and executive leaders attended a three-day workshop focused on the development of five key behaviors derived from its Employee Satisfaction Survey. Tacoma Power provided training and work experiences to 36 apprentices and trainees in five areas – line, substation, meter, advanced meter/relay, and system dispatcher.
Tacoma Power completed the Cowlitz Falls fish handling facility adjacent to the shore-based juvenile collector, which improves fish health, operations, and employee safety. The utility also completed the Tilton River fish release site, and the Cushman fisheries program saw increased adult Chinook returns as the program moves towards sustainability.
As part of the City’s decision to pursue the public-private partnership model for Click! Network, the utility’s telecommunications operation, the City selected Rainier Connect to provide continued network operations. Control of business and technical operations will transition to Rainier Connect in early 2020. As part of the partnership adoption, the City, with input from community stakeholders, adopted 12 policy goals to shape the future of Click! Network. The Rainier Connect plan to accomplish the 12 policy goals was an essential determining factor in selecting the company to lease the operations.
Tacoma Power’s executive leadership proactively worked to offset the adverse effects on employment. City staff and labor negotiated retention and severance packages for impacted employees. To date, 37 employees received new positions across the City throughout 2019, and placement efforts continue.
FinancialsView Financial Highlights
Power Management achieved almost twice its 2018-2019 Energy Independence Act (EIA) conservation target of 6.4 aMW, substantially under budget.
Standard & Poors, AA- by Fitch and Aa3 Moody reaffirmed Tacoma Power Bonds as AA.
The year 2019 brought in the highest historical number of pole attachment requests. Continuous improvement efforts are underway to enhance work forecasting, thereby increasing opportunities for resource planning and cost savings. The utility also completed a study of its wireless fee assessments to ensure regulatory alignment.
Tacoma Power completed designs, agreements, and work orders for various projects, generating revenue in the process.
- New primary underground commercial projects
Amount: 59 (46 in 2018)
Revenue Generated: $1,167,000
- New primary underground residential projects
Amount: 34 (32 in 2018)
Revenue Generated:$850,000 (+ $560,800 for secondary projects)
- Electrical permits issued Electrical inspections
Amount: 11,582 (11,502 in 2018), 19,660 (17,539 in 2018)
Revenue Generated: $2,066,711
Maintaining our Commitment to Customers
Tacoma Power, in coordination with Tacoma Water, completed major procurement activities in its Advanced Metering Infrastructure program and began the development phase. The program will enable customers to receive many benefits, including flexible billing options, outage and leak notifications, and usage data via a customer portal.
The utility developed an innovative program for economically disadvantaged customers to improve home weatherization and install ductless heat pumps. The program is a no-interest, deferred loan, where no payment is due until the sale or transfer of a home.
Approximately 366,953 people visited Tacoma Power parks in 2019. A rare drawdown of Mayfield Lake occurred to replace and extend the boat launch at Mayfield Lake Park. Improvements to the core recreational area continued at Mossyrock Park near the new swim beach. A significant restroom remodel adds improved accessibility for park visitors with disabilities to several family restrooms. Removing a jetty improved boating access at Taidnapam Park. Upgrades to the moorage dock and east loop restroom and new safety booms at the swim beaches enhanced Alder Lake Park.
This year was an exciting year of accomplishments that will strengthen Tacoma Power’s ability to provide equitable and modern services well into the future. There were upgrades to dams and parks, along with great strides for the future safety and health of the fish we strive to protect. The launch of a robust cybersecurity awareness campaign, the Advanced Meter Infrastructure program, and new innovative resources to assist customers with economic challenges also position Tacoma Power to the service provider of choice for decades to come.