Pre-Meeting Q & A from the Board - June 5, 2018

The following questions have been posed by Commissioners prior to the scheduled Board Meeting on June 5, 2018.  Staff responses are included below, and are sorted by Agenda topic.  

Customer Service Policy Revisions (FAHEY)

What is a "Reactive Power Charge"?  Electric energy is comprised of two parts, real power and reactive power.  Real power is measured in watts and is what residential customers normally consume and are billed for.   Reactive power is the other portion of energy generated and is measured in vars.  Vars represent the energy used to energize magnetic and electric fields needed to transmit electricity and to help run motors and other magnetic devices.  Vars typically are more prevalent in larger commercial and industrial loads.  EWEB's system has to be sized to deliver watts and vars and we also pay var charges to BPA.  So EWEB's metering and rates are set up to recover our costs to provide total energy capacity beyond the watts.  

The reactive power charge applies to customers that meet the following specific characteristics:  

1.  Any primary metered service.
2.  Any three-phase 277/480 or 480 volt service that is CT (current transformer) metered.
3.  Any three phase 120/208 or 120/240 volt service where billed demand will exceed 200 kW during a billing period.
4.  Any three phase 120/208 or 120/240 volt service that is expected to less than 200kW demand may require reactive metering if EWEB Engineering or Meter Department determines that the power factor is less than 90%.

"Customer-Owned Street Lighting Service - Schedule J-3" and "Private Property Lighting Service - Schedule L-3" Says they are closed to new services, is this because they have older technologies that are being phased out in favor of more efficient lights like LEDs?  Approximately, how many lights do we operate under each program?  Yes.  The J-3 Schedule for Mercury Vapor lighting and the L-3 High Pressure Sodium lighting are rate schedules based on older technologies that are being phased out and are no longer offered to new customers. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 prohibited the importing or manufacturing of Mercury Vapor in street lighting and the J-3 is therefore closed to new services; the L-3 fixtures are no longer available in new installations in accordance with Eugene City Code 9.6725.

- J-3: 34 lights
- L-3: 286 lights

Peak and Off Peak hours: I see that the summer is considered Off-Peak. I understand that heating needs require more energy, but with summers getting hotter, do we have a model or estimate when the higher temperatures will necessitate the higher days in summer to be classified as On Peak?  For instance, days over 90 or 100 degrees?  There are currently three rates schedules that include time differentiated pricing, including the pilot rates C-TOU-1 and C-TOU-2 (as well as the recently expired R-TOU) and the Partial Requirements Service Pricing (C-PRP). All of the schedules include both on- and off- peak hours for both seasons.  The C-PRP also includes a shoulder season and hours.

- The on-peak summer hours for the C-TOU-1 and C-TOU-2 are 12:00pm to 8:00pm.
- The C-PRP on-peak hours for the summer season are 2pm to 6pm.

Peak and Off Peak hours: I am also a little surprised to see Thanksgiving be a low peak time. I have read about the higher peaks caused by homes across America cooking turkeys all at the same time and increasing demand. Do we really see lower consumption during that holiday, or is it lumped into the Off-Peak time for convenience?  EWEB follows the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) holiday schedule. In reviewing EWEB consumption for Thanksgiving, it is typically lower than a similar weekday and is more consistent with a Sunday in terms of total system demand for similar temperatures. Lower demand from our commercial/industrial customers is likely offsetting any increased residential demand.  

Pumping and Delivery Charge above the Base - do these rates cover the cost of service? Especially those in the higher elevations or is there cross subsidization at these rates?  Currently, the rates for Pumping and Delivery Charge above the Base capture the power for pumping, as well as pump operator labor.  The rates do not capture the capital and maintenance costs of elevation infrastructure.

Volume Charge - I would like more in depth information on why the cost to serve Veneta Water is so much lower than to serve River Road and Santa Clara water? What are the driving factors on the COSA?  We would like to provide detailed COSA information in the fall after it is updated for the November Board meeting. However, there are some key differences between Veneta and other water districts including single point-of-delivery, and infrastructure contributions.   Because of the nature of our agreement that allows us to curtail water delivery, Veneta also does not contribute to our peak capacity needs in the same way as water districts.   Additionally, the water districts have an allocation for fire protection and customer service that Veneta does not.

2018 Annual Integrated Electric Resource Plan Update (ACKERMAN)

Figure 11, Recent Regional Resource Builds: I don't understand the capacity bar on this graph, wouldn't this still have to be one of the other generating resources? Perhaps inclusion of the "*" explaining that category would be helpful.  Figure 11 from the 2018 IERP update is copied below for ease of reference.

Chart of Planned Generating Resource Changes by 2025

Our apologies for the accidental omission of the note accompanying the asterisk in figure 11. The note would clarify the capacity category as the amount that is anticipated to be purchased or developed by utilities through RFP processes, and the fuel source and resource type is unspecified at this time.  PNUCC anticipates the RFPs will follow a least cost, best fit criteria and can include demand response programs. 

The cumulative amounts of resource categories added each year are shown in the table below.  

Table showing cumulative amounts of resource categories added each year


Downtown Fiber Network Status Update (PRICE)

This is the first I have heard about the EDA grant, how large was the grant and what were the barriers to complying with their award conditions?  In October 2016 a multi-agency team consisting of EWEB, COE and LCOG applied for a federal grant administered by the Economic Development Administration. In May 2017 the team was awarded a grant of up to $1.9 million to match 50% of the City of Eugene's investment. During the initial application and the award the team expressed the intent to use existing staff to complete the project, a process called Force Account. Over the next months the team made adjustments to many of the project details in order to meet EDA requirements. In January 2018 the EDA clarified their position on remaining hurdles and provided additional information. The largest hurdle that came to light was the requirement to hire a Project Coordinator and Construction Superintendent with duty requirements that could not be met. In March 2018 the COE authorized EWEB to move forward with construction without the EDA grant after both entities determined that the remaining grant requirements could not be addressed.