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 2022 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.
Increased costs from inflation and the need to upgrade aging infrastructure will require an increase in the price of water and electric services in 2023.
At the Dec. 6 public meeting, EWEB’s Board of Commissioners will be asked to approve a 2023 budget that includes the following rate increases, which are necessary to support utility operations and make needed infrastructure investments:
If approved, 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 electric basic charge is an important part of our continuing efforts to better recover fixed costs the utility incurs regardless of the amount of electricity used, such as meter reading, billing and customer service.
GENERAL SERVICE (GS)/COMMERICAL
At the Dec. 6, 2022 public meeting, EWEB Commissioners will hear public comment on budget and rate proposals for 2023. You can watch public meetings online and provide comments in three ways:
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.
As a customer-owned utility, EWEB does not operate to earn a profit. You own EWEB – not wealthy 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:
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 $5 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” 40 watt)|
|Cup of instant noodles||1,800 mobile phone charges|
|Less than 1 gallon of bottled water||Almost 1,000 gallons of tap water|
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|
|Pacific Northwest||21.5 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:
Here in the Pacific Northwest, we are fortunate to have access to some of the cleanest power options in the nation, with almost no electricity sourced by EWEB from fossil fuels.
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% of annual energy from carbon-free resources by 2030 to the extent possible and practical without distinct adverse impacts to customer-owners.
That means that your rates support a grid that’s getting greener over time.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.