Kenmore City Hall - Reporter file photo

Kenmore takes closer look at energy reliability

Energy reliability has been a long-standing issue for Kenmore, and the city’s officials and staff are trying to stay as informed as possible ahead of the upcoming contract renewal with Puget Sound Energy. This included hiring an outside firm to study the city’s energy usage and failures and make recommendations from its findings.

“It’s a high priority for us,” Assistant City Manager Nancy Ousley said.

Exponent Engineering and Scientific Consulting presented its findings and recommendations to the Kenmore City Council at the Nov. 7 meeting, in addition to holding an open house for the public before the city council meeting.

“The majority of the issues (with) reliability are on the distribution side,” Walter Bak, principal engineer with Exponent, said.

Bak said his company looked at the average frequency of outages and duration of outages, in addition to looking at the distribution points for Kenmore’s energy. He said seven out of the 10 circuits Kenmore relies on are in PSE’s bottom quartile, while nine out of 10 of them are in the lower half. However, he did indicate upcoming PSE projects would make strides to improve those statistics.

“The current situation is unacceptable,” Ousley said. “We have asked (PSE) to report to the council in December about their plans.”

The recommendations from Exponent to the city are as follows:

Implement the current PSE plans for the rebuilding of the Kenmore-25, Kenmore-27 and Kenmore-23 circuits.

Improve other circuits with reliability issues.

Install recissers and sectionalizing switches in all of the circuits to minimize the line segments affected by a fault and enable repowering the circuits from the remote ends, which should be possible to do since the distribution system in Kenmore is looped radial circuits.

Work with PSE to pilot other advanced technologies that are intended to improve the electric system reliability.

Move to a three-year tree-trimming cycle with more frequent patrols to reduce the frequency of tree-related outages. This might also slightly reduce the susceptibility of Kenmore to storm-related impacts.

Request a reliability report from PSE that provides more details for evaluation of the Kenmore circuits including circuit outage highlights, circuit projects, ongoing maintenance activities and performance-related metrics.

Establish a more formal protocol for reviewing growth plans with PSE so these plans are included in PSE’s system-planning activities.

The entire report can be found online at

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