Durkan nominates Debra Smith to head Seattle City Light

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

According to Durkan’s 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 People’s Utility District, on Oregon’s 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 Smith’s 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.


  1. Debra Smith is the GM of the Central Lincoln ***People’s Utility District***, not Public Utility District; Oregon’s name for this political subdivision differs from Washington’s.

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