As a customer-owned utility, we do not operate to earn a profit. Prices are based on the costs to serve our community with safe, reliable water and electricity.
We work hard to control costs and operate as efficiently as possible. Our 2023 budget reflects investments to ensure we can continue to provide safe and reliable water and electricity even as critical infrastructure ages and new challenges arise.
Price changes effective February 2023
Increased costs from inflation and the need to upgrade aging infrastructure required an increase in the price of water and electric services in 2023.
- Electric basic charge*: Increase $2.24 per month
- Electric usage charge: Increase less than 1¢ per kilowatt hour
- Water basic charge: Increase $1.26 per month
- Water usage charge: Increase approximately 11¢ per kgal
Beginning in February 2023 the average household will pay around $8 more per month, or 27 cents per day, for electricity and water combined. This is based on using 9,000 gallons of water and 1,600 kWh of electricity; actual bill changes may be lower or higher depending on actual usage.
* The increase in basic charges are an important part of our continuing efforts to better recover the fixed costs of providing service, which don't change regardless of how much energy or water is used. These costs include equipment like meters, poles, transformers, pipes, and trucks, as well as customer service and billing functions.
GENERAL SERVICE (GS)/COMMERICAL
- Small and Medium GS electric: Increase 4.0%
- Large GS electric: Increase 1.6%
- Small, Medium and Large GS water: Increase 6.0%
Planning for 2024
At the July 11 public Board of Commissioners meeting, EWEB kicked-off a multi-month process that will culminate in December with adoption of a 2024 budget and rates. Staff presented “revenue requirements” to the Board, which establish how much EWEB needs to collect from customers overall to cover costs associated with running the utility in the coming year.
|2024 Revenue Requirements||7.75%||8.25%|
With support from Commissioners, staff is now working through the process of allocating the revenue requirement by customer class (residential, commercial) and price category (basic charge, delivery charge) to establish 2024 rates.
Some of the major factors driving projected 2024 price changes are:
- Water investments – including constructing a treatment plant on the Willamette River, replacing aging water storage tanks, and strengthening pipelines
- Electric investments – including rebuilding aging substations, and upgrading the Carmen-Smith hydroelectric project
- Purchased power costs – including rising costs of power supplied by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA)
- Global inflationary pressures – rising costs of equipment such as pipes (up 50% in the past two years), transformers (up 50-85%), and power poles (up 30%)
- Regulatory Environment – Increasing regulations are placing more requirements and restrictions on EWEB investments and operations
The July meeting was the first in a series of public meetings during which your elected Board of Commissioners will provide feedback and direction on spending for major capital projects and potential price changes for customers.
Our customer-owners are invited to provide testimony on proposed 2024 rate adjustments at public Board meetings, including rate hearings in November and December. See Board meeting schedules and learn how to provide input.
Customers are always invited to contact Commissioners directly. Learn how to contact your EWEB Commissioner.
How have your rates changed over time?
We value and respect our customer-owners’ financial resources by controlling costs and rates.
EWEB reduced or kept residential electric prices flat for six out of 10 years between 2014-2023. Residential water prices were stable or reduced four years in a row between 2017-2020.
Your EWEB bill: Cost, Price and Value
Think about all the ways you rely on electricity in your home. From space and water heating to electronics and appliances – it all uses electricity.
Because electricity and water are so reliable and accessible with the simple flip of a switch or turn of the tap, they can be easy to take for granted. Most of us don’t take time to think about where electricity and water come from, how they get to our homes or how much we rely on them in our daily lives.
So it’s no wonder that our monthly bills may occasionally catch us by surprise.
When you pay your bill, you deserve to know where your dollar goes, what may impact future prices and how you can reduce your monthly costs.
Let’s take a look at what goes into your EWEB bill and what you get for your money.
Cost vs. Price
As a customer-owned utility, EWEB does not operate to earn a profit. You own EWEB – not independent investors or shareholders.
That means that unlike an investor-owned utility, there are no profit margins or shareholder dividends built into your EWEB rates. Electric and water prices are based on the costs to:
- Operate and maintain the electric and water systems
- Meet regulatory obligations and statutes
- Invest in system improvements that make your services better
- Protect natural resources near our facilities, and
- Maintain the financial health of the utility
What Do You Get For $1?
As an EWEB customer, the average rate for a kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity is about 10 cents. Put another way, you could power an energy-efficient 9-watt LED light bulb for more than 1,000 hours for only a dollar. You could watch around 250 hours of TV or charge an electric bike 15 times. Where else can you get that kind of value?
How much food, coffee or medicine will $1 buy? How far would you get with a dollar of gas?
And what about your smartphone? Using EWEB’s price of about 10 cents per kWh, you can fully charge your iPhone more than 1,800 times for $1. That means you can charge your phone once every day of the year for about 20 cents total.
The cost of water is even less. Using EWEB’s price of about $1.50 per 1,000 gallons you could take 39 showers, run your dishwasher 190 times, water more than 1,000 square feet of lawn—all for less than $1.
The average EWEB residential customer pays about $6 per day to power their entire home and about $2 per day for water. Considering how much we depend on clean, reliable power and water 24 hours per day, seven days per week, 365 days per year, that’s a great value.
|What can you get for $1?|
|Candy bar||1,000 hours of light (9-watt LED)|
|Scratch-off lottery ticket||50 hours of running desktop computer|
|Postage stamp||250 hours of watching TV (32”)|
|Cup of instant noodles||1,800 mobile phone charges|
|Less than 1 gallon of bottled water||Almost 1,000 gallons of tap water|
Our Commitment to Affordability
EWEB’s prices for power and water are comparable to or less than state, regional and national averages.
|Energy Information Administration Data||Price per kWh|
|EWEB||About 10 cents|
But we understand the economic pressures facing so many customers and we work hard to control costs and operate as efficiently as possible.
Some of the ways we maintain affordability include:
- Strong reliance on low-cost hydropower
- Using our trading floor to buy and sell electricity on the wholesale market to cost- effectively balance supply and demand
- Stringent planning and analysis of spending on capital projects and operational requirements
- Using debt prudently and minimizing our borrowing costs
- Offering financial support to help customers manage their energy use and invest in energy efficiency improvements that can reduce bills year-round
- Careful management of inventory and supply chain
- Leveraging state and federal funding to supplement programs and offset costs
- Supporting the health and safety of our workforce to keep insurance costs as low as possible
- Spreading the costs for major improvement projects over many years to avoid having to raise rates significantly in any one year
- Commitment to continuous improvement to drive greater efficiency and lower costs
Your Rates Support Clean Energy
Here in the Pacific Northwest, we are fortunate to have access to some of the cleanest power in the nation.
About 90 percent of EWEB’s annual energy comes from carbon-free resources and we’re committed to doing even better.
In January 2022, the Board of Commissioners approved a Climate Change Policy (PDF) that targets over 95 percent of annual energy from carbon-free resources by 2030.
That means that your rates support a grid that’s getting greener over time.
Your Rates Keep the Lights on and the Water Flowing
The clean, safe water and electricity we all rely on would not be possible without the infrastructure that delivers it.
From power plants to distribution and transmission lines, substations and transformers, pipes, reservoirs and pump stations — utility infrastructure is a complex system that requires investment and maintenance to provide constant, reliable power and water.
EWEB plans for major infrastructure investments through our Capital Improvement Plan, a 10-year plan for rehabilitating, replacing or installing new infrastructure.
To meet the current and future needs of our community and ensure reliable service, some of the major projects we’re planning and budgeting for include:
- Rebuilding substations to increase capacity and improve reliability
- Investing in updated meter technology to reduce costs and improve service
- Implementing wildfire safety and prevention programs
- Building a water treatment plant on the Willamette River to improve the resiliency of our water supply
- Upgrading the Carmen-Smith Hydroelectric Project
- Upgrading and supplementing water storage tanks
- Addressing the structural vulnerabilities of the Leaburg Canal
How Your Rates are Set
The prices you pay are meant to promote efficient use of water and electricity and to ensure that EWEB adequately covers our costs in a way that is fair, stable and affordable to customers.
There are three main activities associated with setting customer rates:
- Determining a revenue requirement: How much does EWEB need to collect from customers in a year to cover costs associated with running the utility?
- Allocating the revenue requirement: How do we ensure various customer classes (residential, business, large industrial, etc.) pay their fair share of the cost for getting water and power to their homes and facilities?
- Establishing rates: How do we set prices that reflect the fixed and variable costs of providing services and incentivize customers to use electricity and water wisely?
EWEB begins the rate-setting process annually every spring.
Through a series of public meetings, your elected Board of Commissioners provides direction on spending for major capital projects and potential price changes for customers.
During the summer and fall, EWEB staff follow that direction from the Board to develop a proposed spending budget for the following year.
The final budget is adopted in December after two public hearings in November and December during which customers are invited to provide testimony on any proposed adjustments.
Basic charges explained
If you look at your EWEB bill, you will notice different types of charges that make up the total amount owed. These types of charges vary by customer class (residential, commercial, and industrial), but fixed charges (Cost of Basic Service) and volumetric charges (kWh and KGAL) are always present.
The fixed charge is intended to ensure each customer is paying a fair share of the cost to access electric and water services.What do basic charges cover?
Looking to the Future
Utility rate setting practices continue to evolve with advancing energy markets and technology.
Looking ahead, we will need to continue to design rate structures that reflect the true costs of providing electric and water services. We’re exploring ways to better align rates with the times of the day when electricity is in highest demand.
Investments in smart meters, coupled with technologies such as electric vehicles and smart home appliances, will change traditional electricity pricing, allowing us to offer more accurate rate structures that provide customers with more choices and control.
One example is real-time pricing. Other utilities have implemented programs where electricity prices vary hourly over the course of the day to reflect fluctuating costs of providing that electricity. When the costs are lower for the utility, the costs are lower for the customer.
Just as prices for electricity can vary hour by hour, so can the carbon content of electricity production.
Although EWEB's energy portfolio is composed almost entirely of carbon-free power, we are part of a highly integrated regional energy grid that includes coal and natural gas. When the highest ("peak") level of electricity is being used in the region, there is generally more of this carbon-intensive energy on the grid. Prices can be set to reward customers for shifting their energy use to off-peak hours and to take advantage of surplus renewables on the grid.
These are just a few of the possible changes on the horizon. But even as we look at price changes in 2023 and beyond, we are interested in keeping rates as low as possible because we know that our customers value affordability and expect that from us.
How you can save money and manage your bill
We're making investments to prepare, replace and maintain our community's water system.
City of Eugene residents elect five commissioners to four-year terms to form the EWEB Board of Commissioners. The elected Board is responsible for overall governance of the utility.