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Tacoma Power has been a citizen-owned electric utility that generates, transmits and distributes clean energy to our community – and in 2018, that meant servicing 179,000 customers over 180 square miles. While much has changed since 1893, in 2018 Tacoma Power continued its commitment to providing competitive, reliable energy to customers.



Tacoma Power relies on two resources to serve about ninety-five percent of its electric demand: clean renewable hydropower and energy efficiency programs. While the market and regulatory climate affects conservation programs, many of the program changes are a result of Tacoma Power’s past successes in conservation along with natural energy efforts.

In 2018, Power Management acquired over 8 aMW of conservation - more than double the target at a substantially lower cost than budgeted. 


Tacoma Power made changes within the hydro generator fleet to improve operating flexibility. This flexibility supports new market opportunities and provides foundation of reliability to enable other intermittent renewables in the region, such as solar and wind. Upgrades to Tacoma Power’s generators  included updating and replacing parts and systems at Cushman 2, Wynochee and LaGrande, as well as increasing maximum operating capacity at Cushman by 3,000 kilowatts. Overall, in 2018. Tacoma Power’s hydro fleet was available to generate energy 99.1 percent of the time when called upon.    


In collaboration with the City of Tacoma’s Public Works Division, Tacoma Power completed the two-year project of installation of over 16,000 LED streetlights to save energy, provide better and safer lighting and reduce costs. Tacoma Power also successfully completed a residential solar plan, better informing customers and benefiting low-income customers.


Tacoma Power looks to the future and, in doing so, finalized a new Long-Range Financial Plan report. Policymakers used this plan to determine the revenue requirement for the 2019/2020 biennium. In May, Tacoma Power amended and extended the current short-term Note Purchase Agreement (NPA), to provide interim financing for capital improvements in advance of a long-term bond issue.


Tacoma Power also became a certified California Independent System Operator (CAISO) Scheduling Coordinator, which allows the utility to transact directly with the CAISO wholesale electric market. This market status enables better integration of renewable generation and may increase revenue in the future by over a million dollars a year.


The new Cowlitz Falls juvenile fish collector operated for its first full year in 2018, successfully improving the spring chinook collection rate from 10% (prior to 2017) to 70% in 2018.  At Cushman, the first spring chinook adults in 92 years returned to Cushman 2 dam from eggs obtained from the Skagit River. This led to the first harvest of eggs (called an “egg take”) at the North Fork Hatchery and began the full cycle of spring chinook recovery.


The utility also made significant efforts to advance electrification of transportation, including incentives to spur additional investment in electric vehicle charging, construction and opening of DC Fast charging station at LeMay Car Museum, customer outreach and education, and collaborative efforts with Pierce Transit’s plug-in hybrid commuter vans.



Standard & Poor’s and Fitch rate Tacoma Power Bonds as AA and AA-, respectively, as part of the previous bond issue in 2017. These ratings allow Tacoma Power to access low interest rates for future borrowing needs. Moody’s confirmed Tacoma Power’s credit rating of Aa3 for bonds issued prior to 2017.


In 2018, the New Services Engineering (NSE) group completed designs, agreements, and work orders for a variety of projects, generating revenue in the process.


New primary underground commercial projects




New primary underground residential projects


$745,400 (+ $531,400 for secondary projects)

Electrical permits issued

Electrical inspections





To support the community, Mossyrock Park added a new swim beach and boat launch to  improve access and recreation at lower lake levels and added 10 miles of public trail to the Cowlitz Project, effectively doubling the length of the existing trail.). In 2018, 350,000 people visited Tacoma Power parks.


City of Tacoma, Tacoma Power and the local community coordinated to replace the 17 lattice structures along North 21st Street and two steel pole structures in the Westgate Shopping Center with 12 new steel monopole structures. Tacoma Power also installed distribution cable across the Murray-Morgan Bridge to support economic development and reliability in the Downtown Tacoma area.


2018 was a both a historical milestone and a year of excitement for the future for Tacoma Power. The upgrades to our transmission system, a new state-of-the-art fish collector, legislative support for expansion of low-carbon transportation, and expanding our involvement in CAISO’s power trading market, all position us for a bright energy future.

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