Fire at Broad Street substation takes out power around Seattle Center

At 10:05am today a fire broke out at Seattle City Light’s Broad Street substation. The fire knocked out power in areas around the Seattle Center. 325 customers are without power due to the fire, including the Space Needle, EMP, Key Arena and Seattle Center.

According to Seattle City Light: “Fire happened in a capacitor bank, which regulates the quality of power flow.”

Here’s the current outage map:

SCL Broad St outage

Power outage on Lower Queen Anne near Mercer

UPDATE: SCL now has an estimated restoration time of 5:47pm

Power is out to 483 customers right now around Mercer Pl and W Mercer St west of 3rd Ave W. Cause is undetermined per Seattle City Light, power estimated to be restored by 4:40pm.

Power Outage 092813

Three John Hay Students Win Seattle City Light Calendar Contest

For its 2013 Shrinking Bigfoot calendar, Seattle City Light held an art contest for elementary students, with the winners’ artwork featured in the calendar – and three John Hay students were among the 13 winners. The students created artwork to illustrate ways to shrink one’s carbon footprint, with all proceeds of the calendar going to Project Share, an emergency fund that helps City Light customers who need one-time financial assistance with their electricity bills.

Seattle City Light Superintendent Jorge Carrasco congratulated the 13 calendar contest winners at a reception this past Wednesday:

According to Seattle City Light Superintendent Jorge Carrasco:

“Each of the winners demonstrated great talent in sharing tips that we all can use to shrink our carbon footprints. It’s impressive to see young people engaged in an effort to reduce climate change while helping support our Project Share program. These students are giving back twice to their community.”

Our local Queen Anne winners are Lola, Maren, and Josie, all 3rd graders at John Hay – click their drawings to enlarge:




Calendars are available for $10 and may be purchased online or at Seattle City Light’s service centers.

City to pay $11K to owners of electrocuted dog

The city of Seattle agreed to pay $11,000 earlier this month to Lisa McKibbin and Nancy Bostdorff, the owners of a dog that was electrocuted after stepping onto a charged ground-cover plate on Queen Anne Ave N on Thanksgiving Day, according to a report by the Seattle PI.

McKibbin and Bostdorff filed a $60,000 claim over Sammy’s death back in March, claiming physical, emotional and monetary damages. Sammy was a 6-year-old German shorthaired pointer.

McKibbin had been walking Sammy when he stepped on and was killed by 90 volts of “stray voltage” on a sidewalk ground-plate cover. The tragedy prompted an investigation at Seattle City Light, which found that four area streetlamps, including the one that killed Sammy, had been improperly grounded by a private contractor back in 2006. City Light responded by conducting a first-ever inspection of all 37,000 streetlights and associated equipment citywide. By the time the inspection concluded in January the utility had found and repaired 56 sites with elevated voltage.

According to the PI report, as per the terms of the agreement, the city will now post contact voltage “safety messages” on the Seattle City Light website, and is also expected to post a link to a page on electrical safety from a Toronto utility.

The owners’ attorney, Adam Karp, told the PI that McKibbin and Bostdorff “congratulate the city on taking preventative steps to protect the public from future hazards.”

Read the full story at the Seattle PI.

Burke-Gilman Ship Canal Trail detour starts today

Starting Monday, Seattle City Light crews will begin to install new lines on the towers that are on either side of the Ship Canal at Warren Avenue.

The detour for the Burke Gilman trail while the towers are being worked on. For a larger image, click here (.pdf).

“Because a safety buffer zone must be established under the towers, a portion of the Burke-Gilman Trail and Ship Canal Trail will be closed intermittently. Bike trail detour signage will be placed in advance of our work,” the press release states.

The crews will work Mondays through Saturdays, depending on weather, from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. through the summer. The trail detours will be in place between 6:45 a.m. and 5:15 p.m.

Before work can begin on the tower, Osprey nest material on the north tower needs to be moved.

In recent days a pair of Osprey have been apparently placing a small amount of nest material atop the north tower. City Light biologists will be checking first for young/eggs before we begin the project – and if there are none, we will remove the nest material and move forward with the project. We will continue to monitor the situation and, if warranted, investigate ways to provide safe nest sites in the area in the future.

More information on this project can be found here.

City Light warns against bill collection scammers

Seattle City Light released a statement yesterday urging customers to be wary of telephone con artists posing as utility bill collectors, and advising customers on ways to safeguard against such scams.

In the past week, the utility received at least two reports of phone calls from con artists claiming to be electric utility employees who were ready to disconnect their electricity. The scammers appear to be targeting residents with Asian surnames and similar businesses.

Here’s a rundown of the scam, which has reported several times over the last few years: callers target City Light customers claiming there is a problem with the payment of the customers’ bill. They then ask for a credit card payment over the phone to resolve the matter. According to Seattle City Light, in one instance the caller claimed to work for a different utility.

“If someone asks for your credit card number or Social Security number over the phone, don’t give it to them,” Customer Service Director Kelly Enright said in the statement. “We never demand immediate payment to avoid a shutoff for one late payment or use Social Security numbers as part of our billing process.”

According to City Light, customers who may be behind on their bill and at risk of having the power turned off, will first receive at least two written warnings asking the customer to contact the utility directly to make a payment.

City Light also sent the following reminders to customers:

  • Seattle City Light accepts credit card payments at a customer’s request, but never demands or solicits credit card information to pay a bill.
  • Seattle City Light does not call customers on weekends about their utility account.
  • Seattle City Light employees carry identification with the City Light logo and will always display it when asked.

If you suspect that you’ve been targeted by a similar scam, City Light advises you take down the name and telephone number of the caller, and before providing any credit information, call City Light at 684-3000 to first verify that the request is legitimate.

If a customer believes he or she has been contacted by a con artist, they are urged to contact the Seattle Police Department at (206) 625-5011 to report the incident.

“Sadly, there are criminals out there who will try to take advantage of another with the false threat of cutting off their electricity,” Enright said. “Seattle City Light wants to help its customers protect themselves from scam artists and the best way to do that is to be informed.”