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’s water infrastructure projects designed for reliability during major disasters
As communities nationwide Imagine a Day Without Water, EWEB strives to ensure such a day never happens.Find Out More
Fall is the perfect time to prepare for winter storm season
Winter is coming, which increases the likelihood of storm-related power outages. It's important to be prepared, and there are simple actions you can take right now.Find Out More
EWEB lead annual "Spill Drill"
EWEB coordinates drill as part of protecting Eugene’s drinking waterFind Out More
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
Salmon Return to Finn Rock Reach
Finn Rock Reach and other restoration projects throughout the Middle McKenzie provide conditions to help young fish survive to adulthood.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
EWEB Prepares for the Annual Observance of "Imagine a Day Without Water"
Water infrastructure is essential, invaluable, and in need of continuous investment. Read how EWEB's Staff and Board of Commissioners are working to safeguard Eugene's water future.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
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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.