Kenmore businesses and residents will soon no longer need to fear that power outages will cause further inconveniences.
The city will be receiving improved electrical services through a new franchise agreement with Puget Sound Energy. The Kenmore City Council unanimously approved the new five-year agreement on June 10.
PSE and Kenmore have spent the last few years re-negotiating their terms and making sure their duties align, said RaeLynn Asah, supervisor of municipal relations for PSE. The new agreement goes into greater detail and improves regular communication between PSE and the city.
Prior to 2016, Kenmore had experienced widespread electrical reliability challenges for its 22,000 residents. After the previous agreement with PSE expired in 2015, the city hired Exponent Consultants, who discovered that seven of the 10 circuits in Kenmore were performing in the lowest quartile of the entire system, according to a city press release.
“The need for reliable electricity is citywide,” said Mayor David Baker in the release. “We have established clear goals for improved reliability and built a stronger working relationship with PSE.”
The primary goal of this agreement is to make sure PSE is in regular communication with the city and council staff on electric reliability performance within the city, Asah explained.
“We called for a turnaround, and this agreement can help continue that progress,” said Baker in the release.
The city threatened to drop PSE back in 2016 after continued frustration with power reliability. The increased number of outages resulted in a loss of business productivity, as well as health concerns for residents.
Kenmore’s contract with PSE includes increased vegetation management to reduce damage to older circuits, as referenced in the release. Improved communication will exist through detailed reliability reports by PSE to the city leadership members for coordination of growth plans.
PSE invested about $19 million in vegetation management and various improvements around important powerlines in Kenmore after the increased reliability issues in 2016.
The agreement is set to last for five years with the opportunity to extend for another five years if all goes well.