Rate Setting Process is Customer Driven and Community Focused
EWEB’s Board of Commissioners is considering rate changes to help maintain reliable utility services and fund critical investments in Eugene’s water and electric infrastructure.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
Women in STEM: EWEB Engineer Laura Ohman's second degree brings a lifetime of benefits
EWEB Engineer Laura Ohman shares how getting her second degree was one of the most difficult and rewarding things she's ever accomplished.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
How does EWEB recover the costs of serving customers
Here’s an overview of the three primary ways EWEB recovers the costs of serving customers and generates the funds needed to keep the power on and the water flowing.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
Women in STEM: Meet our servant leader and maker of tough decisions
Karen Kelley, Chief Operations Officer at EWEB, describes herself as a "servant leader," offering support and mentoring to four division managers at EWEB.Find Out More
Women in STEM: Meet the woman responsible for managing our wholesale energy agreements to ensure we meet our customers energy needs
Megan Capper, the Energy Resource Manager at EWEB, began her career working in economics at BPA before joining the power planning department EWEB, ensuring we can meet the energy needs of our our customers today, tomorrow and 20 years from now.Find Out More
EWEB establishes multipronged resiliency policy
Disaster recovery and prevention are being embedded in all operations and processes.Find Out More
Substations – The resilient spine of EWEB’s electric system
The substation redundancy ensures reliable power continues to flow to homes and businesses despite unexpected equipment failures and routine maintenance.Find Out More
Trends that are impacting your utility rates
Needed infrastructure investments and rising costs of operations will require increases in the price of water and electric services.Find Out More
Women in STEM: Meet the water quality specialist who ensures the safety of Eugene's drinking water
Brenda Casarez began working at EWEB in 2009, collecting samples from all over the water system testing for different contaminants.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 will close College Hill Reservoir site for Fourth of July
EWEB will continue the annual closure of its College Hill Reservoir over the Fourth of July holiday. For the past several years, EWEB has restricted access to the reservoir surface around the Fourth of July to ensure people do not set off fireworks which can damage the roof and potentially impact drinking water quality.Find Out More
EWEB and City finalize sale of former riverfront headquarters
The two buildings on 4.4 acres will transformed into Eugene's new City Hall. EWEB and the City signed closing documents and officially handed over the site keys on Tuesday.Find Out More
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EWEB 2021 State of the Utility Address
March 10, 2021
As a public utility, owned by the people of Eugene, it's important for us to be open and transparent with our customer-owners. The following State of the Utility Address, delivered by General Manager Frank Lawson at the March 2 EWEB Board meeting, highlights key events, accomplishments, and challenges of 2020.
President Schlossberg, Commissioners, Employees, and Members of the Public,
I am here to report that the state of your utility is "healthy." That word has intentional meaning this year because it reflects the utility's condition in the context of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic that impacted 2020 and challenged our community. Even when healthy, you can feel good or bad from time to time, but your general condition-a result of your history, diligence and hard work, and good habits-is strong. EWEB is indeed healthy.
A pandemic, major wildfire, economic challenge, cyber-attacks, along with social and political unrest tested our community and our utility in 2020. Sadly, people in our community have suffered, struggled to cope, spoken out in anger and frustration or with empathy and praise, and even died because of the events of this past year.
If struggle both builds and reveals character, it did both for EWEB in 2020. As an organization, while these conditions challenged our finances and systems, they mostly tested our people-EWEB's employees and our Board. But we were able to respond, and respond we did!
This month marks the one-year anniversary of EWEB's first executive stay-at-home order, a situation we fully expected to pass within a few weeks or months. EWEB Human Resources and Safety staff have worked tirelessly with EWEB leadership throughout the past year to make adjustments to policies and procedures, often influenced by changing government regulations or health standards, to help our employees and protect our capacity to respond to the needs of our community. EWEB employees have endured and worked under ever-changing conditions and rules, smog and smoke, fires, threats from citizens, and in some cases, at-home conditions impacted by family situations and technology.
Despite cyber challenges like the SolarWinds attack in December, EWEB's Information Services staff provided important support enabling a safer and more flexible working environment and also managed to upgrade many of our systems, becoming more cloud-based in the process. These and other lessons learned in 2020 will continue to provide opportunities for EWEB in the years ahead.
In 2020, not only did EWEB safely and reliably and affordably deliver almost 8 billion gallons of fresh, high-quality, great-tasting drinking water and 2.4 billion kilowatt-hours of low-carbon electricity, we also contributed over $18 million dollars directly to the community through customer assistance programs, education grants, water and energy efficiency and electrification incentives, and contributions in lieu of taxes to the cities of Eugene and Springfield. Staff responded quickly to both the COVID economic impacts and Holiday Farm Fire victims with special assistance qualification adjustments, new payment programs, and in some Holiday Farm situations, bill and loan forgiveness.
To ensure the ongoing viability of our services, EWEB made approximately $58 million in capital investments in 2020, including roughly $18 million in water infrastructure and $40 million in electric and share services systems. These investments were specifically prioritized to reinforce the values of our Board and community-Safety, Reliability, Affordability, Environmental Stewardship-and our strategic objectives focused on emergency preparedness and disaster recovery and preparing for a new energy supply future.
Besides the miles of water pipe upgrades, pump station enhancements, and customer building requests, the water utility has now fully commissioned five emergency water sites throughout Eugene (two years ahead of schedule, with another two planned), completed the construction of a new water lab building at Hayden Bridge, made significant progress on the design and planning of our new base level reservoirs, with construction on the E. 40th site starting this summer, and received laboratory accreditation to perform in-house cyanotoxin and renewed biological testing.
And then there's the watershed. We have worked with the Board to expand our approach from watershed protection to watershed recovery, requiring additional care and investment. Besides replacing poles and conductor, along with responding to customer building and renovation projects, the electric utility significantly rebuilt the McKenzie valley service territory in a matter of weeks, added an important switching system linking the north and south downtown Eugene underground electric networks, significantly increasing resiliency, and replaced some key large substation transformers.
If 2020 showed us anything, it's the importance of respectful relationships-with our colleagues, with our advocates, and with our critics. EWEB continues to build individual and organizational links with Lane County, the cities of Eugene and Springfield, and communities in the McKenzie valley; with organizations that share similar visions, like Pure Water Partners and McKenzie River Trust; with other energy suppliers like public utilities and Northwest Natural to de-carbonize both the electric and gas grids; members of our community and our neighbors, and with our colleagues and Board of Commissioners. These relationships will continue to be important in the years ahead.
Because, although EWEB is healthy, some heavy lifting is still to come. After years of no rate increases, including absorbing increases from our largest energy supplier, the Bonneville Power Administration, EWEB will likely need to raise rates in 2022. But, as with your other assets, we will continue to be good stewards of your money, and make prudent investments ensuring the continued delivery of safe and reliable drinking water and electricity.
Finally, I celebrated my 10 year anniversary working at EWEB in 2020 and I can honestly say I've never been prouder of the organization, including staff, management, and the Board. I am excited about the opportunities in front of us and know that we have the ability to fulfill our Board's and community's needs. Thank you to all who continue to contribute to the essential services that we provide, for making EWEB a great place to work, and for ensuring that our community can indeed "Rely on Us."