The Eugene City Council approved the purchase of EWEB's former riverfront headquarters property at a meeting on Jan. 30. The terms of the deal state that the City of Eugene will purchase the 4.4-acre property, which includes two buildings and parking lots, for $12 million.Find Out More
An EWEB-supported program provides firewood for people affected by the 2020 Holiday Farm Fire. The McKenzie Firewood program was developed by Pure Water Partners (PWP) in 2021.Find Out More
At EWEB, we do what we can to help others in need. That’s been the reality for several of our electric and water crews over the past few weeks as we’ve responded to mutual aid requests for storm response and drinking water restoration, locally, and out of state.Find Out More
After evaluating several proposals and opportunities, EWEB is focusing its negotiations to sell the former riverfront headquarters property to the City of Eugene. The exact terms and details of the deal will be negotiated during the next few weeks.Find Out More
Despite an ice storm and a few windstorms in Eugene and the McKenzie Valley in the past few weeks, EWEB has so far fended off widespread weather-caused power outages – largely because of investments in year-round system maintenance and infrastructure improvements.Find Out More
EWEB makes electric mobility available to anyhone though e-bike rebates, car sharing and grants for local organizations with electric mobility projects.Find Out More
Energy Efficiency tips to help you reduce your energy usage for National Cut your Energy Costs DayFind Out More
The EWEB Board of Commissioners started off their first meeting of 2023 by choosing a new board president and vice president.Find Out More
In response to a call for aid this week, EWEB’s water division jumped into action to assist the town of Mapleton after a leak in their water system left about 260 homes without running water.Find Out More
We all know LEDs use less energy, but what does that mean for your holiday budget in real dollars?Find Out More
Commissioners supportive of General Manager's recommendation to remove Leaburg DamFind Out More
On a chilly November day, third graders from Adams Elementary School in Eugene learned about the lifecycle of native salmon on a field trip to Lake Creek near Triangle Lake. The field trips take place all month as part of a program funded by EWEB grants. EWEB dedicates a portion of customer rates to inspiring kids to explore the wonders of science and learn about watershed health, water quality, and emergency preparedness.Find Out More
For EWEB, preparing for harsh winter storms is a year-round responsibility. While we can’t control the weather, we can make our electric infrastructure more resilient to withstand storms that bring snow, ice and wind to Eugene.Find Out More
At the Nov. 1st board meeting, EWEB Commissioners got an update on the budget and rates for next year and the EWEB quarterly report.Find Out More
Imagine if heavy snowfall and freezing rain hit Eugene this winter. Imagine damaged trees, road closures and widespread power outages. What would you do?Find Out More
September 29, 2022
“I came here today for a refresher on power line safety,” said Tim Cogswell with Lane County’s waste management department. Cogswell was one of many attendees who gathered in the Lane County customer service parking lot on Tuesday for an EWEB electric safety demonstration.
EWEB’s electric safety trailer is an interactive tool for the public to learn how to react in a potentially dangerous situation. It demonstrates electric voltage conducted from wires and transformer boxes and helps educate public workers, first responders, and community members about what to look for, what to do and how to be safe when it comes to electricity.
“I drive around the county all day, so there’s a chance I’ll come across a downed line and knowing what to do and what not to do is important for my safety,” said Cogswell.
During three demonstrations over the course of the day, our EWEB crew showed onlookers what would happen if they touched an energized power line or an exposed green transformer box. The crew used an insulated pole, called a “hot stick” to contact objects such as an irrigation pipe, rope and a ladder with a live wire—scenarios that first responders and other public safety workers often encounter in real life. The result was a guttural, vibrating buzz, followed by ignition, sparks, flames, and electrocution.
The fiery visual helped drive home the importance of following a few crucial safety rules around overhead power lines, including:
The crew also demonstrated what happens when a person back feeds a generator by plugging it into a house wall outlet connected to a main circuit. This causes a reverse flow of electricity into the electric panel, creating extreme danger for homeowners and utility personnel.
“Think of electricity as always looking for the path of least resistance,” said Brian Read, EWEB line crew leader. “Electricity is confined by insulators but it’s always looking for a way out, so if you make contact, it’s going to conduct through the body’s nervous system to find its way to the ground.”
Attendees had the opportunity to ask questions:
Q: Should I try to lift a power line off the ground if I think I have a pole that doesn’t conduct electricity?
A: No. You’re risking your life if you attempt to move a downed line. You should stay at least 50 feet away and call EWEB and 911 immediately.
Q: What should I do if I’m in an accident and there’s a line near or on top of my vehicle?
A: You should stay in your vehicle and call EWEB and 911 immediately. Do not try to exit your vehicle if there is no immediate threat. If the line is touching your vehicle and happens to start a fire, you may be forced to jump from your vehicle, making sure to land with your feet together and not touching the vehicle after landing.
Additionally, if you are in an accident involving a green box, do not exit your car. They are high voltage transformers or switching boxes, that can conduct electricity easily if they are damaged.
Q: What is the best way to physically move away from an energized source?
A: It’s called the bunny hop. By putting your feet close together and hopping away from a power line you will decrease the chance of electrocution by step potential. You can think of it like when you throw a rock in water, the further out the ripples are from the spot the rock entered, the lower the voltage will be. You don’t want to take a large step and find the difference in voltage in the ground.
Q: How do line crews know when a line is energized?
A: We are very deliberate and precise in how we approach and test energization. There is a multi-step process which is to identify, isolate, test and then ground the line we are going to be working on. It is not possible for anyone to look at a downed power line and know that it is de-energized.
Safety is our number one priority at EWEB and that’s why we are dedicated to educating the public about electric safety. EWEB appreciates the opportunity to educate our first responders, hopefully keeping them safe when they are out working to keep everyone else safe. Aaron Morgan and Jason Burgess with Oregon Department of Transportation’s Incident Response team appreciated EWEB’s demonstration:
“It was extremely valuable for us to be here today. Seeing with our own eyes what could happen if we are near an energized line was a good reminder that even though we’re trained to act immediately, we need to pause and call EWEB right away if there’s a chance that electricity is involved, for our own safety and for the safety of others,” said Morgan.
“Look up and live. That’s what I learned here today. Is there electricity involved? That’s one of the first things I’ll be assessing when I’m responding,” said Burgess.
Thank you, Lane County, for hosting EWEB and our electric safety demonstration trailer. We are looking forward to more opportunities to engage with the community of Eugene using this interactive and educational tool.
Thank you, EWEB lineworkers, for providing valuable information at these demonstrations: Kevin Barkdull, Joe Lay, Sean Martin, Brian Read, and Jesse Stiner.
If you see a downed power line, move away and call EWEB's outage hotline at 1-844-484-2300.