Policy & Regulations

Mayor Durkan Nominates Debra Smith as New CEO of Seattle City Light

For the past five years, Smith has been the general manager of a utility company on Oregon's central coast

By Kevin Schofield August 29, 2018


This story originally ran on SCC Insight.

Mayor Jenny Durkan nominated Debra Smith to be the new CEO of Seattle City Light.

According to Durkans press release, Smith is a 22-year veteran of the Pacific Northwest utility business. For the past five years, she has served as General Manager of Central Lincoln Peoples Utility District, on Oregons Central Coast.

Smith will be inheriting a troubled organization. SCL has recently been accused of having a hostile workplace for women. It has also dealt with customer service issues as a result of its changeover to a new (expensive and late) customer service and billing system, and its business model has come under pressure as electricity demand and revenues have not met projections.

The City Council must confirm Smiths appointment before she can take office. Council member Teresa Mosqueda, who chairs the committee that will host the confirmation process for Smith, announced today that the Council will begin the confirmation process in her committee meeting on September 13th, and it will continue in another meeting the following Thursday, September 20th. The rest of the schedule for the confirmation process is yet to be determined, but will be posted online here.

Seattle City Light has also seen challenges in rethinking its business plan to adjust to modern challenges. Read more on that issue and more in this feature story from our November issue.

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