Seattle City Light
Debra Smith is the General Manager and CEO of Seattle City Light, one of the nation’s largest community-owned electric utilities. City Light serves more than 480,000 meters and 955,000 people across Seattle, parts of eight surrounding communities and unincorporated King County. Debra believes in transparency, accountability, and intentionality as well as the value of teamwork, partnerships, and collaboration. As a long-term public employee, she prioritizes customer needs while acknowledging that great customer service starts with engaged and committed employees. Under her leadership, City Light is focused on electrification, equity and improving the customer experience. Previously, Debra served as Central Lincoln PUD’s General Manager from July 2013 to October 2018. She brought 17 years of experience to that role from the Eugene Water and Electric Board, where she held a variety of positions, including Assistant General Manager. Debra earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Arizona State University and she served as the first Chairwoman of the Public Power Council (PPC). Currently, Debra serves as Vice Chair of Long-Range Planning for PPC, and is on the board of the Pacific Northwest Utilities Conference Committee (PNUCC), the Electrical Power Research Institute (EPRI), the American Public Power Association (APPA) as well as APPA’’s Climate Change Task Force, the Large Public Power Council’s Steering Committee, Puget Sound Energy’s Beyond Net Zero Advisory Committee, the Columbia Basin Collaborative, and the Pacific Northwest National Lab’s Energy and Environment Directorate Advisory Committee. Debra and her husband Dale have raised three sons and two daughters. They love city life and are committed to being part of downtown Seattle’s post-pandemic recovery. They also have a home in Eugene, Oregon where three of their kids live as well as their six-year-old grandson Oliver, and his soon to be new baby brother. In her spare time - there really isn’t any - Debra enjoys travel, time with friends and family, and hanging out on her and Dale’s favorite pandemic purchase - their pontoon boat/party barge.
All Sessions by Debra Smith
Plenary session – Senior Executives Discuss the Future of Energy Services and the Built Environment
Both the utility and real estate industries are undergoing change from market and regulatory forces. This moderated panel will discuss those changes and how senior executives view the new relationships between energy providers and the built environment.
Smarter Buildings and a Changing Utility – A Vision of the New World of Energy
The conference kicks off with a moderated discussion featuring senior thought leaders in the technology and utility sectors. Panelists include Mary Kipp, CEO of Puget Sound Energy, Debra Smith, CEO Seattle City Light, and Ed Schlect, CSO of Avista Utilities, Stephanie Greene of the Rocky Mountain Institute, and Emmanuel Daniel of Microsoft. Moderated by Ash Awad, President and Chief Markets Officer of McKinstry, this panel will discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the energy industry and how that affects the built environment. A new cleaner and more flexible electrical grid is coming. These changes will be facilitated in part by smart building technologies and practices built on the fast-growing power of cloud computing and information technology services. This is sure to be an exciting and informative discussion which will frame issues getting discussed throughout the subsequent two days of the conference.