Nine days without power: My ice storm story as an EWEB customer and employee
While beautiful and peaceful, buying a home on the edge of the forest and surrounded by trees has its tradeoffs. Moving “upriver,” I knew there would be more threats to prepare for, including Mother Nature’s seasonal surprises.Find Out More
EWEB achieves power restoration milestone over the weekend
Crews have so far restored power for 92% of customers who originally lost power at the height of the ice storm.Find Out More
Reenergized McKenzie River Valley transmission lines allow EWEB crews to restore power upriver
On Friday, a majority of EWEB crews tackled power restoration efforts upriver, after federally managed transmission lines were reenergized Thursday.Find Out More
EWEB estimates one week to complete power system restoration
On Wednesday, EWEB crews restored power for about 10,000 customers by repairing large equipment first.Find Out More
Second round of ice and ensuing thaw prompt mass power outages
On Wednesday, all EWEB crews, who have been working nonstop since Saturday, traversed EWEB’s service territory assessing the damage and restoring transmission lines and main power feeders.Find Out More
Power restored at EWEB’s water treatment plant
Crews restored electric power at EWEB's Hayden Bridge Water Filtration Plant Monday evening, allowing operators to switch off the generators and rely again on the grid. Meanwhile, EWEB crews brace for additional outages amidst second round of ice and during the coming thaw.Find Out More
EWEB crews focusing on restoring electric service for Hayden Bridge Water Filtration Plant
With more ice forecasted for Tuesday, all EWEB crews are in the field assessing outages and restoring power.Find Out More
EWEB crews making downed lines safe and restoring power across Eugene and the foothills
As EWEB works to restore electric service to customers affected by the ice storm, the customer-owned utility is following established policies and its “hierarchy of repair” to prioritize repairs that restore electric service to the greatest number of customers.Find Out More
Leaburg Decommissioning Action Plan
Plan details next steps through regulatory processes to begin dismantling Leaburg Dam by 2032.Find Out More
What’s ahead in 2024: General manager’s message to EWEB customer-owners
At the start of the new year, we back at accomplishments from 2023 and look ahead at what's to come in 2024.Find Out More
Start the New Year saving money with energy saving tips
We know that saving money is important to our customers. Using energy and water wisely is a great way to reduce your monthly utility bill, even as the costs of electricity and water rise. EWEB has several steps you can take to reduce your usage and even make your home feel more comfortable.Find Out More
Currin Substation: End of year update
EWEB Engineer Philip Peterson explains what's been happening in the final stretch to complete the substation rebuild.Find Out More
EWEB 2023 year in review
In 2023, EWEB invested in our community with grants, rebates and an array of other programs and measures aimed at fulfilling our core values of safety, reliability, affordability, environmental responsibility and community/culture.Find Out More
EWEB Recognized with Excellence in Communications Awards from American Public Power Association
We are proud to have been recognized with two Excellence in Public Power Communications Awards for 2023 from the American Public Power Association (APPA).Find Out More
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
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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."