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Board of Commissioners Meeting Highlights - June, 2018

June 11, 2018

EWEB Headquarters Building where commissioners meet monthly

As a public utility, it's important for us to be open and transparent with you, our customer-owners. Here are some highlights from this month's meeting of your citizen-elected Board of Commissioners.

Limited income program goals

EWEB supports limited income customers through bill pay assistance, education and energy efficiency incentives. At the Board's direction, utility staff conducted an evaluation of current programs and, at the June meeting, asked Commissioners for guidance on potential future changes. Commissioners expressed vigorous support for efficiency and conservation programs that help limited income customers save energy, water and money. There was also support for continuation of crisis assistance funds and reducing overhead costs so that a greater portion of the utility's budget for limited income programs goes directly to customers in need.  Staff will consider this guidance and return to the board for additional discussion about future program changes.

Disconnection for non-payment and security deposit requirements

EWEB currently offers the most lenient terms of any utility in Lane County, allowing customers to go 60 days without making a payment before initiating a disconnection order. Customers receive several bills (at least three) before EWEB initiates disconnection action for non-payment. In many cases, this well-intended policy creates a situation where customers get so far behind that it becomes very difficult to bring their accounts up-to-date and avoid security deposit requirements. To help limit the accrual of multi-month balances, EWEB is considering compressing the past-due bill collection timeline, and also looking into reducing the security deposit amount required for accounts that are deemed to present a financial risk to the utility. Commissioners expressed support for changing the disconnection timeline and security deposit threshold, and asked staff to bring recommendations to a future board meeting for continued discussion.

Carbon and climate related policies and priorities

Commissioners at the June meeting discussed several carbon and climate related topics:

Proposed updates to the Board's strategic direction policy addressing climate change - The revised policy states the Board's commitment to supporting a low carbon, renewable resource-based electric power portfolio, and directs the General Manager to continue efforts to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions both regionally and from EWEB's operations. Staff will ask for approval of the revised policy at the July board meeting.

Updates to EWEB's 3-year strategic plan - A strategic plan provides the context and understanding needed to manage policies, establish priorities, and make decisions. At the June board meeting, Commissioners approved changes to EWEB's strategic plan to capture the utility's role in reducing greenhouse gases contributing to climate change.

Energy Resource Portfolio - Since 2012, staff has provided the board with an annual update on EWEB's energy resource portfolio and recommendations to ensure our power supply is adequate to meet customer and community needs.  At the June meeting, staff's presentation showed that EWEB's current portfolio remains adequate for meeting needs for at least the next five years. However, staff expects to complete a new resource plan in 2021 to support resource negotiations and decisions needed to replace expiring purchase power agreements over the next decade. Commissioners reiterated a strong commitment to a low carbon portfolio and making future resource decisions in the context of a changing climate.

Click here to view the full meeting agenda and supporting materials.