Let's talk turkey. If a disaster strikes, is your family ready?
Many of us avoid discussing politics over the dinner table in the spirit of family peace and harmony. But here's a topic that can bring everyone together: emergency preparedness.Find Out More
EWEB’s water infrastructure projects designed for reliability during major disasters
As communities nationwide Imagine a Day Without Water, EWEB strives to ensure such a day never happens.Find Out More
Fall is the perfect time to prepare for winter storm season
Winter is coming, which increases the likelihood of storm-related power outages. It's important to be prepared, and there are simple actions you can take right now.Find Out More
EWEB programs reflect community values
EWEB is here to serve our customer-owners and provides programs that reflect the values of our community.Find Out More
EWEB Prepares for the Annual Observance of "Imagine a Day Without Water"
Water infrastructure is essential, invaluable, and in need of continuous investment. Read how EWEB's Staff and Board of Commissioners are working to safeguard Eugene's water future.Find Out More
National Preparedness Month: Older adults take control in 1, 2, 3
We know older adults can face greater risks when it comes to the extreme weather events and emergencies we face, especially if they are living alone, are low-income, have a disability, depend on electricity for medical needs, or live in rural areas.Find Out More
Bethel neighbors boost emergency preparedness during Emergency Water Station event
Staff gave out about 300 emergency water containers to enthusiastic community members eager to learn more about the water station.Find Out More
Stay cool during extreme heat events
With temperatures forecasted to reach over 100 degrees over the next several days, we've prepared some tips and tricks to help you stay cool.Find Out More
EWEB establishes multipronged resiliency policy
Disaster recovery and prevention are being embedded in all operations and processes.Find Out More
Wildfire season is here – tips and safety precautions
Temperatures are heating up with weather forecasts anticipating temperatures up to 99 degrees in Eugene and the surrounding areas on the 4th of July.Find Out More
EWEB Safety Tip: Celebrate responsibly with balloons
If your graduation celebration involves balloons, make sure they are secured with a weight. Otherwise, they can float away and come into contact with overhead power lines.Find Out More
Every Week is Infrastructure Week
National Infrastructure Week (May 14-20) may be a politically charged quip on the national stage, but for EWEB, the urgency and importance of infrastructure is no joke.Find Out More
EWEB to replace aging College Hill Reservoir with new earthquake-proof storage tanks
Old reservoir leaks, threatening water quality, and will fail when a major earthquake strikes.Find Out More
EWEB conducts annual High-Risk Fire Zone inspections
Crews are identifying and addressing equipment failures before wildfire season and doing so mitigates risk of fire ignition.Find Out More
New water treatment trailer improves EWEB’s emergency response abilities
The Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB) is expanding its capacity to provide water to customers in case of an emergency.Find Out More
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Crews Making Steady Progress on Electric System Improvements
November 16, 2019
Our Electric Operations crews are making steady progress on improving the local power grid's reliability, and have completed more than half of a series of the planned resiliency projects throughout the Eugene service area this year.
Following the 2016 ice storm, we applied for grant funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to make the electric system improvements in order to reduce the frequency and duration of storm-related outages.
The agency has approved 15 of the 16 proposed projects, and will fund 75% of the total cost, estimated to be about $2.7 million. Crews have completed 10 of the projects.
The projects represent the most storm-affected areas not only from the 2016 storm, but those in 2014 and 2012. The projects are distributed around the community, including in the Danebo, Dillard, Delta, Hilyard, Blanton, Oakway, River Road, Santa Clara and Coburg/Harlow areas.
To view a map of the projects, click here.
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. Some lines may be rerouted.
Four of the reliability projects will convert overhead lines to underground service. All of the projects will be completed by fall 2020.
The costs of undergrounding
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 conversions 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, the cost is 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.
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 a pad mount 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.
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.