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
Preparation and Resilience: How EWEB Maintained Water Service During Recent Ice Storm
Learn about the projects and people that helped EWEB keep water flowing throughout the extreme weather event.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
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 Crews Help Restore Power After Ice Storm
March 16, 2021
After an icy winter storm struck Northwest Oregon in mid-February, bringing down trees and power lines, the state's largest investor-owned electric company issued a call for help.
At the peak of the catastrophe, more than 250,000 Portland General Electric customers were without power amid freezing temperatures. PGE estimated that at least 4,000 power lines were brought down by falling trees, limbs and ice. Several transmission lines were also damaged.
The PGE request for mutual aid landed on the desk of EWEB Operations Line Supervisor John Latourette. After double-checking the weather forecast to make sure snow and ice wasn't supposed to hit the Eugene area, John then determined there were no critical electric projects that couldn't be pushed out for a week or two.
Another consideration in deciding whether to send crews to help another utility restore power is the Coivd-19 pandemic. A utility in California requested mutual aid in January, but EWEB had to decline because the number of Covid-19 cases in the area was going up and the infection rate was well above that in Oregon.
"What would happen if one, two or even three crews came down with Covid-19?" John asked.
He determined the Portland to Salem corridor was at about the same risk as Lane County.
"After checking the weather and the number of scheduled urgent projects, we decided could send three crews and a general foreman to help restore service to PGE customers," John said. Each crew is comprised of four line technicians.
The 13 EWEB staff primarily worked in the Salem and Silverton areas, which were hit hardest by freezing rain that brought about 1 inch of ice to the central Willamette Valley. The crews spent 10 days installing new poles, crossarms and power cable.
"They would come up to some locations where the line was literally pulled down by ice and trees," John said. "Other locations there was one pole that fell, and it took several other poles like dominos falling."
The Eugene area encountered a similar ice storm in December 2016, bringing down trees and power lines. At peak, about 10,000 EWEB customers were without power. After EWEB issued a call for mutual aid, private and public utilities responded to get the lights back on.
Mutual aid contracts require the requesting utility to cover all labor, fuel and materials costs incurred by outside crews.