Public Power Week Poster Contest 2023
It’s that time of year again! October 1-7 is Public Power Week. To celebrate, EWEB is holding our annual poster contest for fifth graders in our service area. Help us pick the winners.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
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
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
EWEB establishes multipronged resiliency policy
Disaster recovery and prevention are being embedded in all operations and processes.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
EWEB begins major water pipeline upgrades
This summer, EWEB is launching several construction water pipeline projects to enhance the reliability and earthquake resiliency of drinking water service for Eugene residents.Find Out More
Currin Substation - the origin of the name
Hugh Currin was hired as an engineer at EWEB in 1923. Later, he became the chief engineer for the utility.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
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Grid Hardening Lowers Fire Risk, Increases Reliability
September 30, 2021
While most wildfires are started by lightning strikes or caused by human actions, utilities have a role to play in risk reduction -- and we are doing our part. And while we can't stop wildfires, we can make our electric infrastructure more resilient to better withstand fires by using new construction methods and materials and keeping our system maintenance up to date by replacing aging equipment.
EWEB employs a full menu of options for "grid hardening" strategies, including a robust vegetation management program, replacing older equipment on a regular basis, full system inspections, and in some cases, placing power lines underground.
One of the measures underway this summer and fall is the inspection and replacement of power pole crossarms. Our line technician crews have been working for the past several months to identify and replace older or deteriorating crossarms in the McKenzie River Valley service territory and on select circuits in south Eugene.
Replacing crossarms is a labor- and time-intensive process, where the crews are often working within a few feet of energized powerlines. However, this is one of the measures that could prevent EWEB facilities from becoming an ignition point for a wildfire.
During high wind events, such as the gusting, erratic winds seen during Red Flag Warnings, the failure of a crossarm could bring down energized power lines and potentially spark a fire. To help reduce that risk, crews are now finishing up the replacement of more than 100 crossarms in the McKenzie River and south Eugene areas.
"Our approach is to use multiple investment and replacement strategies to maintain reliability and increase resiliencies for all types of weather conditions the electric system must face," said Electric Operations Manager Tyler Nice.
"Most often mentioned as an improvement to mitigate fire risk is undergrounding lines, however, that option typically cannot be acted on right away, may not be feasible, or be cost prohibitive," Nice said. "Preforming inspections and turning around maintenance work quickly for high-risk areas and ailing equipment is not only a quicker option, but is financially responsible, and will provide reliable service for years to come."
Another risk reduction strategy is to replace wooden power poles with metal poles in areas that are at higher risk for wildfire.
This past spring, EWEB finished a project that used ductile iron poles to replace wooden poles in a section of its upper McKenzie River transmission line. The ductile iron poles are much more resistant to fire than wood. The project at Deer Creek is the first time EWEB has installed ductile iron power poles.
"Not only will the ductile iron poles prove more resilient in surviving a wildfire, but we actually improved habitat by placing the new poles away from Deer Creek, which is the largest tributary to the McKenzie River," Nice said.
Along with grid-hardening activities, we also conduct routine system maintenance to keep electric infrastructure functioning safely and properly throughout the year. The reliability work includes proactively pruning trees and removing brush to help keep our equipment clear of contact, and for access if an outage repair should be needed. In addition to the regular vegetation management, tree-trimming crews spend extra time pruning in areas at higher risk of wildfire.
Crews regularly inspect electric lines, poles, components and other equipment, replacing worn or older parts as needed. This work not only helps keep the system operating during snow, ice and windstorms, but reduces the likelihood of some types of equipment failure that may causing sparking that could ignite a wildfire.