In January, our elected Board of Commissioners approved an agreement for EWEB to make an unprecedented bulk purchase of substation transformers.Find Out More
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
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
EWEB has 800 miles of transmission and distribution lines transporting your drinking water underground throughout the city. It eventually comes out of your tap as delicious thirst-quenching water. But what goes into maintaining all those pipes? And what happens when one gets a leak? We went to find out.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
Commissioners unanimously voted to approve a Record of Decision endorsing the General Manager's Recommendation to decommission the Leaburg Hydroelectric Project and approved Resolution 2302 directing the GM to develop a Leaburg Hydroelectric Project Decommissioning Action PlanFind Out More
We all know LEDs use less energy, but what does that mean for your holiday budget in real dollars?Find Out More
For their final meeting of 2022, on Dec. 6, the EWEB Board of Commissioners grappled with some major decisions and looked ahead to a new year.Find Out More
Commissioners supportive of General Manager's recommendation to remove Leaburg DamFind 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
There’s no obvious right answer to the question of what to do about the Leaburg dam and canal. EWEB’s Board of Commissioners met this week for a work session with staff about the project.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
August 21, 2018
EWEB Commissioners in September will consider eliminating the second, higher-cost residential electric consumption tier and replacing it with a single flat price.
The utility currently assesses a consumption charge of about 6 cents per kilowatt hour for the first 800 kilowatt hours used by a customer. Once monthly usage goes above 800 kilowatt hours with the current structure, customers move into the second energy consumption tier at a kilowatt-hour price of 7.5 cents.
Under the price reform proposal, EWEB would eliminate that second tier price and charge all residential customers a flat price of 6.5 cents a kilowatt hour.
EWEB first adopted tiered pricing in 2003, following the volatile West Coast energy crisis that caused wholesale electricity prices to spike, and forced the utility to make expensive market purchases to meet customer demand. That tiered pricing structure no longer reflects our true cost for power. With current market conditions, we typically don't have to pay more for additional power, so we shouldn't pass nonexistent higher costs to our customers.
There are many good reasons to make this change.
Eliminating the higher consumption tier and going with a single residential price will stabilize bills year round, making it easier and more predictable for fixed-income customers to plan and budget. In addition, a single residential consumption price will help alleviate the "sticker shock" during the winter heating season when more than 60 percent of customers move into the higher-priced consumption tier. That second tier price effectively acts as a "heating penalty" for the majority of customers.
Another benefit to setting a flat consumption rate is that it will help incentivize electrification, allow EWEB to showcase its virtually carbon-free power portfolio and help the utility be more competitive with natural gas.
Plus, the second tier is invisible to customers, who don't know when they go above the 800 kWh threshold until they get their bill. Charging a slightly higher rate for winter heating is not a particularly effective conservation price signal or behavior motivator.
A more effective strategy to encourage conservation is through direct incentives such as rebates and loans for efficient heating/cooling systems and weatherization projects. EWEB continues to invest in conservation programs, and increased the 2018 energy efficiency budget by $250,000.
While low energy use customers will realize a marginal price increase of about a half-cent per kilowatt hour under this proposal, most customers will see lower bills during the heating season with the single flat rate. Based on consumption levels, some customers may see bills increase by $1 to $4 a month. The table below shows the difference in monthly expenses for a lower usage customer compared to a more typical customer using electric heating.
|Average Monthly Use||Current Electric Price||Proposed Electric Price|
It's important to note that low energy users do not necessarily equate to low income customers, as household size and heating systems are more indicative of energy consumption than income.
We remain committed to affordability of our products and services. 2019 will mark the fourth year in a row with no general increases to our electric prices. Commissioners and staff are also working on plans to restructure and reallocate low-income bill assistance and energy efficiency programs to ensure the highest benefit to our customers in need. We believe these tactics will prove more effective at helping customers reduce their bills while conserving energy compared with retaining arbitrary consumption tiers.
Before moving forward with this proposal, EWEB organized a Customer Pricing Committee to study different options to help make structural reforms to the manner in which the utility recovers costs. The committee recommended a gradual approach to these reforms, and endorsed the elimination of the second pricing tier.
Many utilities are moving to fewer tiers or outright flat rates in order to stabilize their financial positions as they prepare for a future where they cannot rely on the old model of consumption growth to meet the rising costs of delivering power to customer homes and businesses.
This incremental step will help position EWEB and our customers for a financially stable future given the fundamental and dynamic shifts taking place in the electric utility industry.