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How does EWEB recover the costs of serving customers?

August 24, 2023 Jen Connors, EWEB Communications

Graphic comparing investor-owned to public utilities

As a publicly-owned utility, EWEB does not operate to earn a profit. Rates are based on the costs to operate the electric and water utilities, including customer programs, purchased power costs, equipment maintenance, materials and supplies, and investments in major capital projects.

EWEB’s water and electricity networks are designed to ensure dependable access to safe, clean power and drinking water for everyone in Eugene today and for generations to come. But these widespread, complex systems need renewed investment due to aging infrastructure, climate change impacts, technology advances, and an increasing number of regulatory requirements.

Tackling these modern challenges calls for innovative thinking, meaningful collaboration, and of course money. 

Here’s an overview of the three primary ways EWEB recovers the costs of serving customers and generates the funds needed to keep the power on and the water flowing.

1-COST-BASED RATES: As EWEB is a community-owned utility, there are no profit margins or shareholder dividends built into EWEB’s rates. The prices you pay for water and electricity are based on EWEB’s actual cost of providing services. 

2-BORROWING: To fund major projects, we sometimes sell bonds to spread the costs over decades. That means everyone—current, past, and future customers—invests in the system.

3-GOVERNMENT GRANTS: Federal and State grants are usually generated from tax dollars and do not have to be repaid. Legislation such as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) mean there are more grant and tax credit opportunities than ever, but funding can be hard to secure. We actively identify grant funding opportunities for both shovel-ready projects and investments that are included in our long-term plans. 


EWEB’s prices for power and water are comparable to or less than state, regional and national averages. But we understand the economic pressures facing so many customers and we work hard to control costs and operate as efficiently as possible.

Some of the ways we maintain affordability include: 

  • Strong reliance on low-cost hydropower
  • Using our trading floor to buy and sell electricity on the wholesale market to cost-effectively balance supply and demand
  • Careful planning and analysis of spending
  • Using debt prudently and minimizing our borrowing costs
  • Offering financial support to help customers manage their energy use and invest in energy efficiency improvements that can reduce bills year-round
  • Careful management of inventory and supply chain
  • Leveraging state and federal funding to supplement programs and offset costs
  • Supporting the health and safety of our workforce to keep insurance costs as low as possible
  • Spreading the costs for major improvement projects over many years to avoid having to raise rates significantly in any one year
  • Commitment to continuous improvement to drive greater efficiency and lower costs


EWEB is pleased to announce that the water utility has been assigned an AA+ rating by Fitch Ratings, one of the world's leading credit rating agencies. Fitch Ratings' AA+ rating affirms EWEB’s prudent financial management practices and makes it easier for us to borrow money for major projects at favorable interest rates.

Learn more about where your money goes and how your rates are set at