We had a get-to-know-you chat today with Bill Gaines, who
took over as the new Tacoma Power superintendent on Oct. 16.
As a Wilson High School grad with family members who live in Tacoma, Gaines is back on home turf. Gaines spent most of his 25-year career as an executive at Puget Sound Energy in
Bellevue, but he was a top manager at Seattle City Light when he was tapped for the Tacoma post.
Gaines says Tacoma Power is in great shape. No rate increases are planned in the two-year budget that will soon go to the Utility Board and the City Council. The utility has been making nice revenue selling surplus power to California, and that should continue as long winter snow packs in the Cascades remain
normal or better.
The long-range concern is assuring the additional power
supplies Tacoma will need by 2010 or 2011. Gaines’ boss, Tacoma Public Utilities Director Mark Crisson, told us conservation – whiich will be speeded up if Initiative 937 passes next week – may make up much of the gap, Another key issue, both said, is making sure Tacoma gets a fair long-term allocation of power from the Bonneville Power Administration, which operates the federal dams on the the Columbia and Snake rivers. The region’s utilities and the BPA are currently negotiating those allocations.