The Tacoma Public Utilities board is poised to hire a new superintendent of the utility’s power division.
Ted Coates, TPU’s current power superintendent, is retiring one month shy of his 15th anniversary at the city-owned utility.
A national search for his replacement drew 12 qualified applicants. Chris Robinson, the current power section manager, rose to the top in interviews with a search firm and with TPU Director Bill Gaines.
“Although it was a tough decision, I’m confident we made the right one,” Gaines said in a press release. “I believe our customers and our employees will benefit from Chris’ leadership.”
Coates earned $262,246 per year and Robinson earns $230,069 in his current role. TPU has offered $249,517 for the new position, said spokeswoman Chris Gleason.
Robinson will start May 1, pending confirmation by the Tacoma Public Utilities board at its March 25 meeting. He started working at TPU in 2001.
Around 90 percent of TPU’s electricity comes from its three hydroelectric dam projects and a $125 million per year power purchase contract with the Bonneville Power Administration. In his current role, Robinson is responsible for planning the utility’s future power needs, marketing and trading around $50 million of power on the wholesale market each year. He also manages the utility’s energy conservation programs, among other duties.
“I realized 14 years ago that I wanted to spend the rest of my career at Tacoma Power,” Robinson stated in a news release. “I didn’t know at that time I would have an opportunity to lead the utility, and I am honored to be selected.”
TPU provides electricity to more than 160,000 customers in Tacoma and areas of Pierce County. The city-owned cable utility Click also operates as a division of Tacoma Power.