This unique opportunity to reduce the infrastructure footprint and maintenance costs will also improve wildfire mitigation because less infrastructure means less chance of ignition or damage from a fire.Find Out More
We are working to ensure our systems are ready to perform through extreme heat. Check out tips and resources to help you stay safe and comfortable while conserving energy.Find Out More
Eugene Water & Electric Board Commissioners are looking to the future in an uncertain time.Find Out More
In 2022, residential rates increased for the first time in five years. Looking ahead, a variety of long-term critical projects coupled with short-term supply chain and inflationary pressures and a dynamic power supply market are likely to impact the prices customers pay for water and power.Find Out More
Using fireworks near power lines could lead to a fire, explosion, power outage or downed line.Find Out More
EWEB will continue the annual closure of our College Hill Reservoir over the Fourth of July holiday and prohibit fireworks on the property grounds.Find Out More
On June 18, with the help of community neighbors, EWEB inaugurated a new emergency water station at the Lane County Fairgrounds.Find Out More
The tour focused on the coordinated response to the Holiday Farm Fire, emphasizing the effectiveness of large-scale floodplain enhancement projects for mitigating the impacts of sedimentation and increasing water temperatures.Find Out More
As a public utility, it is important EWEB check in with customers to see how we are performing. We invite you to share your feedback and opinions.Find Out More
As a public utility, owned by the people of Eugene, it’s important for us to be open and transparent with our customer-owners. The following State of the Utility Address, delivered by General Manager Frank Lawson at the March 1 EWEB Board meeting, highlights key events, accomplishments and challenges of 2021.Find Out More
Community organizations, property developers and others will soon be able to submit offers to purchase and develop a 4.44-acre site in a prime location along Eugene’s burgeoning downtown waterfront district.Find Out More
EWEB’s five commissioners earlier this month voted to elect John Brown as president of the Board and Sonya Carlson as vice president.Find Out More
Starting late night Sunday night, an intense windstorm blew over trees and caused just over 2,600 Eugene Water & Electric Board customers to lose power. But EWEB line crews working through the dark hours of the night and early morning promptly restored service for nearly all those customers.Find Out More
Two Eugene Water & Electric Board line crews will spend the New Year holiday weekend through next week restoring power to thousands of Pacific Gas & Electric customers in northeast California after winter storms dumped more than 10 feet of snow in the Lake Tahoe area starting before Christmas.Find Out More
Several hundred customers have been restored, but the smaller outages with five or fewer customers may not be restored until Tuesday or Wednesday.Find Out More
EWEB’s Board of Commissioners approved the utility’s first Wildfire Mitigation Plan during the July 5 Board meeting. The plan is designed to protect public safety, reduce risk to utility customers and promote electrical system resilience to wildfire damage.
We already have numerous, well-established programs in place for grid reliability and safety that support wildfire risk mitigation. Our new Wildfire Mitigation Plan meets the legislative requirements for Oregon electric utilities to develop risk-based wildfire mitigation plans and adopts more rigorous standards and industry best practices. These include annual vegetation management and equipment inspections in areas of higher wildfire risk. EWEB has also established procedures that make the electric system more sensitive during fire weather events so that it quickly trips off-line to reduce risk of sparking.
“I really appreciate that we are going above and beyond what is required of us. We often tend to be a leader in proactive planning and it’s exciting to see us continue with that momentum here,” said Mindy Schlossberg, EWEB commissioner at-large.
In recent years the convergence of complex issues is making wildland fire activity more dangerous and destructive than in the past. These factors include increased vegetative fuel loads from decades of fire suppression activities, more development in the wildland/urban fringe and the rising frequency of erratic climate patterns such as drought, extreme heat, and severe storms. While most wildfires ignite from either a natural cause such as lightning strikes or human actions, we recognize utilities have a role to play in the mitigation of wildfire risks.
EWEB’s 2022 budget allocates $1 million towards various wildfire risk mitigation activities. These actions fall within five main components for a comprehensive approach to wildfire prevention and response:
In our Wildfire Mitigation Plan, immediate operational response is enacted during Red Flag Warnings through our 24/7 Dispatch Center. A Red Flag Warning is issued by the National Weather Service when warm temperatures, very low humidity, and strong winds are expected to combine to raise fire risks. For example, a heightened risk of a lightning storm.
To decrease the risk that EWEB powerlines become a potential ignition point, we change the protective settings on our equipment during a Red Flag Warning. These protective measures include modifying high-voltage electric switches and relays. Just like a circuit breaker in your home, the switch can sense when trouble occurs, such as a tree branch falling on the line and shuts off the power. Turning up the sensitivity in protective settings mode to reduce the potential of sparking a fire may increase the chance of a power outage. We encourage our customers to be ready year-round, have an emergency plan (and supplies) in place, and ensure preparedness for a prolonged power or water disruption – whether caused by snow, ice, wind, or wildfire.
“A big part of this plan is communicating information about red flag events effectively with the community and letting customers know a red flag event does not necessarily mean we’re shutting off the power,” said John Barofsky, EWEB Commissioner (Wards 2 & 3).
The plan builds on EWEB’s strong foundation of increasing public safety through effective public outreach on resiliency and emergency preparedness, such as the Pledge to Prepare and water reliability initiatives. As part of this effort, we’ve outlined specific messaging and imagery for Red Flag Warnings to alert the public of heightened wildfire potential and the changes EWEB would implement on the electric system to reduce wildfire risk. Already, we have a dedicated webpage for Wildfire Safety and Prevention on our website and a Higher Wildfire Risk Area map to help customers determine if their residence is within an area where protective settings may be put in place.
Now we will continue to refine our wildfire risk resources for public awareness, education, and preparedness. A targeted outreach effort to prepare the medically fragile and other vulnerable communities for potential loss of power will be addressed in future iterations of the Wildfire Mitigation Plan. As an initial step, we encourage customers to update their contact information and alert EWEB of any life-sustaining medical equipment needs.
Our new Board-approved plan not only exceeds compliance requirements, but also aligns with several EWEB strategic priorities, policy objectives and core values. The safety of our workforce and community is our first core value and fundamentally drives how we deliver essential utility services to the public we serve. EWEB’s Wildfire Mitigation Plan strengthens our emergency response protocols and builds on our robust public engagement around emergency preparedness and safety.
EWEB is committed to adapting its strategies as risk assessment models and technologies mature, and in response to emerging best practices, and changing environmental conditions.
4200 Roosevelt Blvd.
Eugene, OR 97402
Phone hours: 9 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.