Electric Outage: 1-844-484-2300
Water Emergency: 541-685-7595
EWEB Main: 541-685-7000
The Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB) is expanding its capacity to provide water to customers in case of an emergency.Find Out More
With cold and icy weather forecasted for the next several days, we want to share some tips on how to heat your home while still conserving energy. We also have tips on how to stay warm if there is a power outage at your home.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
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
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
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
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
Hundreds of landowners in the McKenzie River valley are working with EWEB to prevent future fires and protect the river by replanting burned properties and removing fuels like dead trees and underbrush.Find Out More
When access to pad mount transformers, cable, and smart meter chips tightened, EWEB only had one choice – double down on its core values, provide safe and reliable electricity. Below are the stories from EWEB staff about how they have navigated the ups and downs of this new frontier.Find Out More
EWEB’s electric safety trailer is an interactive tool for the public to learn how to react in a potentially dangerous situation.Find Out More
Laura Farthing has been working for EWEB for the past 14 years. She’s the lead engineer on EWEB’s water storage construction project near E. 40th and Patterson St.Find Out More
EWEB used the tactic of a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) for the first time to mitigate the risk of wildfires.Find Out More
EWEB held a grand opening event for our Emergency Water Station near the Sheldon Fire Station on Saturday, September 10. The site would supply drinking water for the neighborhood in the event of a catastrophic earthquake or other disaster that cut off water to customers.Find Out More
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
March 07, 2019
Following the 2016 ice storm, we applied for grant funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to make resiliency improvements to our electric system to reduce the frequency and duration of storm-related outages in several areas prone to storm damage.
FEMA tightly controls how such grant money is spent, and our distribution engineering staff spent a great deal of time refining the projects and tailoring them to meet the agency's stringent requirements. Those efforts paid off when FEMA approved almost all of the projects in late 2017. Design work started last year.
The agency has thus far approved 15 of the 16 proposed reliability projects, and will fund 75 percent of the cost, estimated to be about $3 million. The final project should be approved later this spring. Click here to view a brochure and map of the projects.
A dozen of the reliability projects will involve reconfiguring older overhead power lines that now have two wires and replacing them with new, higher-capacity cable that requires only one wire. This will also allow for the removal of crossarms, which are susceptible to falling trees and limbs and a common culprit in an outage. Replacement of damaged crossarms is time-consuming and slows restoration efforts. In addition, some lines may be rerouted.
Four of the reliability projects will convert overhead lines to underground service. Some areas where undergrounding will occur include Blanton Road and East 50th Avenue between Willamette and Fox Hollow. We will hold public meetings to explain the projects and gather comments from those in neighborhoods where overhead to underground conversations are planned.
Most of the overhead projects that involve reconfiguring and replacing lines and removing crossarms will begin in the late spring of 2019. The underground conversions will take place in 2020 and 2021.
One of the questions we receive after winter storms damage the system by bringing down trees and overhead power lines is: Why doesn't EWEB put more power lines underground?
The explanation is a bit complicated.
One primary driver in considering overhead to underground conversion is cost. Placing overhead lines underground in established neighborhoods - around existing underground infrastructure such as water/sewer pipes and buildings - is expensive.
The cost to underground a transmission line, which serves thousands of customers, is around $500 per foot. To underground a primary feeder line, which serves several hundred up to more than a thousand customers, costs about $150 per foot.
Those estimates do not include the cost of negotiating easements on private property, nor the cost of the ground transformers that would be required. And it is the customer's responsibility to pay for converting to an underground meter base that connects to the house.
There also is additional cost to repair fences and landscaping after the underground work is completed, and some property owners don't want us digging up their backyards, or placing pad mount ground transformers in their front yards.
By comparison, overhead power lines are much less costly. An overhead transmission line costs about $150 per foot, and an overhead primary feeder line costs about $70 per foot. That $70 per foot drops even further when there are multiple circuits coming off the overhead feeder.
New developments already incorporate underground utilities during construction. When underground lines are installed as part of a new subdivision that is not already encumbered by buildings, streets, sidewalks and other infrastructure, it is much less expensive. Plus, the developer covers those installation costs.
While undergrounding electric lines tends to protect them during ice and snow storms, the lines can be difficult and time-consuming to repair when the underground cables fail.
When considering whether to underground power cables in areas that sustain significant damage when snow and ice bring down trees and lines, we consider the safety and reliability benefits against the costs.
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Mailing Address: 4200 Roosevelt Blvd., Eugene, OR 97402
Toll free: 800-841-5871
Customer service phone hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday - Friday