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
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 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
EWEB To Hold First of Two Public Hearings on Proposed 2024 Budget and Prices
At the Nov. 7 Board of Commissioners meeting, EWEB staff will present a proposed budget that includes rate increases necessary to support utility operations and make needed infrastructure investments.Find Out More
Public Power Week Poster Contest Winners 2023
The results are in! View the winning posters from EWEB's 2023 Public Power Week Poster Contest.Find Out More
EWEB lead annual "Spill Drill"
EWEB coordinates drill as part of protecting Eugene’s drinking waterFind Out More
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EWEB estimates one week to complete power system restoration
January 18, 2024 • Aaron Orlowski, EWEB Communications
EWEB estimates that it will take crews one week from Thursday to complete restoration of the power system.
At the same time, EWEB crews made significant progress Wednesday, restoring power for about 10,000 customers by repairing large equipment first. And, Thursday, as of about 5 p.m., they had restored another 5,100 customers. More restorations are occurring all the time.
A large majority of customers are likely to see their power restored far sooner than one week, but some customers may still be without power for up to a week. A small number of customers in areas with difficult repairs and severe damage, such as more remote areas upriver, should prepare for more than a week before EWEB can restore power.
The estimate is based on experience from similar ice storms in 2016 and 2019. This year, the number of customers without power peaked at 24,000 on Wednesday morning, after a second round of ice struck the region, followed immediately by a thaw. The one-two punch erased days of progress in one fell swoop.
In 2016, the number of customers without power peaked at 20,000 and EWEB restored power to the majority of customers within eight days. And in 2019, the number of outages peaked at 24,000 and power was restored to the majority of customers within nine days.
The estimate may change depending on the scale of damage, available equipment to replace broken parts and how many contract crews are able to join EWEB staff crews, who have all been working 16-hour days since Saturday morning.
“Thursday is our sixth straight day of long shifts and little rest, and for some customers and our employees it’s their sixth day without power. We’re working at full tilt to get the power restored, and we’re going to continue to operate at our full potential by maintaining a steady, consistent, safe pace on restorations,” said Tyler Nice, EWEB electric operations manager. “Everyone here at EWEB is grateful for the continued patience of our customers as we get the power back on.”
On Wednesday, EWEB restored power for about 10,000 customers across Eugene, from the Willakenzie neighborhood to the Friendly neighborhood and everywhere in between. Restorations continued on Thursday and as of Thursday mid-day, about 13,000 customers remained without power.
Since the storm began, EWEB crews have followed standard policies of the “hierarchy of repair” to prioritize repairing equipment that serves the largest number of customers first. On Wednesday, that meant repairing “feeders” that deliver energy from substations to local distribution systems. Repairing these feeders allowed EWEB to restore power for large numbers of customers at once.
By late Wednesday night, EWEB had completed repairs on all in-town feeders. During the day, Wednesday, crews also moved on to repairing “taps” – which serve clusters of homes – where power was available. These repairs often take just as long to complete, even though they bring power back on for a far smaller number of customers. That means that the pace of restoration numbers will slow in the days ahead, even though all crews will still be fully dedicated to the effort.
In addition, the electric system doesn’t always align with the street network, and neighbors across the street from each other may be served by a different part of the system that still has power.
In some cases, customers may need to fix issues on equipment they own before they can get service. If a customer is the only person in their immediate area without power, there may be damage on the service line that leads into their home. Customers should check the weatherhead and meter base to make sure they didn’t sustain damage. If they did, customers should contact an electrician for repairs, which need to be completed before EWEB can restore service to the home.
In EWEB’s service territory in the McKenzie River Valley, crews spent Wednesday working on repairing long-distance transmission lines so they can reenergize the spine of EWEB’s grid in the area. Per EWEB’s hierarchy of repair policies, repairs to feeders will follow in the days ahead, with repairs to taps occurring last.
Customers can check EWEB’s outage map for more details: eweb.org/outagemap