Rate Setting Process is Customer Driven and Community Focused
EWEB’s Board of Commissioners is considering rate changes to help maintain reliable utility services and fund critical investments in Eugene’s water and electric infrastructure.Find Out More
Planning for a Future of Reliable, Affordable, Environmentally Responsible Energy
The challenges revealed by Eugene Water & Electric Board’s integrated resource planning process mirror those facing the Northwest.Find Out More
EWEB’s heat driven call to conserve energy yields major savings
EWEB is likely to implement similar, formalized “demand response” programs in the future.Find Out More
How does EWEB recover the costs of serving customers
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.Find Out More
Planning for a Reliable, Affordable, Green Energy Future
EWEB General Manager Frank Lawson publishes an op-ed in the Eugene Weekly about EWEB's IRP.Find Out More
EWEB establishes multipronged resiliency policy
Disaster recovery and prevention are being embedded in all operations and processes.Find Out More
Substations – The resilient spine of EWEB’s electric system
The substation redundancy ensures reliable power continues to flow to homes and businesses despite unexpected equipment failures and routine maintenance.Find Out More
EWEB charts energy supply choices for next 2-3 years
After 18 months of study to assess Eugene’s future electricity needs, EWEB has identified next steps to pursue in the next two to three years.Find Out More
Trends that are impacting your utility rates
Needed infrastructure investments and rising costs of operations will require increases in the price of water and electric services.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
June 2021 Heat Dome broke records for temperature – but not energy use, EWEB analysis finds
The extreme temperatures from two years ago show the need for EWEB to choose energy sources based on best fit.Find Out More
Hydrogen’s decarbonization potential discussed at EWEB Board meeting
The simplest, lightest, most abundant element in the universe – hydrogen – could play a key role in decarbonizing society, EWEB's Board learned at recent meeting.Find Out More
EWEB could need additional low-carbon, on-demand electricity, new analysis shows
Quickly rising electricity demand could require EWEB to acquire zero-carbon firm resources such as biomass or nuclear plants.Find Out More
Electric vehicles benefit customers and the community
The rising cost of gasoline and growing consequences of climate change are driving more and more people to look for alternatives to gas-powered vehicles. And EVs offer benefits that go beyond the gas pump.Find Out More
EWEB preparing for expected surge in electric vehicles
Electric vehicle (EV) sales are poised to skyrocket in the years ahead as technology improves, more models hit the market, prices fall and regulations limit the sale of gas-powered vehicles. And EWEB is preparing for this surge.Find Out More
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Planning for the future in a volatile landscape
July 14, 2022
Eugene Water & Electric Board Commissioners are looking to the future in an uncertain time. At their July 5, 2022 meeting, commissioners discussed budget, rate setting, and got an update on continued watershed restoration work in the aftermath of 2020’s Holiday Farm Fire.
EWEB’s five commissioners, who dedicate their service to the utility as volunteers without pay, are elected by the citizens of Eugene to set policies, approve the annual budget and make changes to electric and water rates when necessary. Board meetings are streamed live to the public and recordings are posted on eweb.org. Those who tune in will hear commissioners contend with topics like climate change, fluctuating utility costs, developments in grid technologies, and ever-evolving consumer expectations. In these conditions of uncertainty, decision making is a challenge.
“Our goals make us unique compared to other utilities, and we will be grappling with how we meet these goals under current trends and pressures,” said Commissioner Mindy Schlossberg, who represents the entire service area in the at-large position.
At their July meeting, for example, Commissioners began exploring the topic of how to set electric and water rates in the future. EWEB has started rolling out smart meter technology, which when fully implemented will give customers more flexibility and knowledge of their energy use and options.
Marianne McElroy, EWEB’s Billing Operations Manager shared some of the more innovative ways utilities can set pricing, including Time of Use (TOU) rates.
“When the costs are lower for the utility, the costs are lower for the customer,” said Marianne.
But even rate practices continue to evolve as energy markets and technology advance.
“I read a headline recently that TOU rates solved yesterday's problems,” said Marianne. “In some places TOU rates are aging out as utilities face even greater risks and uncertainties in delivering critical services.”
She said a new example—real time pricing—is looking promising:
“Prices vary frequently, hourly over the course of the day to reflect fluctuating electricity cost determined by wholesale electricity prices.”
Commissioner Sonya Carlson emphasized the importance of keeping equity in mind when considering new technologies and services.
“People who are older and not tech savvy, they don’t have the ability to deal with some of those pricing models,” Sonya said. She said she hopes there are options that meet the needs and capabilities of a variety of customers.
General Manager Frank Lawson said more specifics on future rate decision will come in 2023.
Just as prices for electricity can vary hour by hour, so can the carbon content of electricity production. Although EWEB's energy portfolio is composed almost entirely of carbon-free power, we are part of a highly integrated regional energy grid that includes coal and natural gas. When the highest ("peak") level of electricity is being used in the region, there is more of this carbon-intensive energy on the grid.
“I sit in on meetings with utility colleagues who are wrestling with a grid that is under pressure, said Frank Lawson. “We rely on a grid that has a whole, separate unique set of challenges with it--EWEB issues, grid issues, customer issues—and we are trying to balance those issues.”
Other decisions on the Board’s docket include the future of the Leaburg Canal, part of EWEB’s 100-year-old hydropower project that must either be rehabilitated or decommissioned due to structural deficiencies, development of EWEB’s next Integrated Resource Plan, which will analyze possible energy resource portfolios for long-term electricity supply planning, and investment in a second water treatment plant to increase the resiliency of our community’s water supply.
These are long-term and complex decisions that will affect our community for generations and must be made in a turbulent environment of a changing climate, new technology, developing markets, political and regulatory flux, natural and human threats, and evolving diverse community expectations.
“As a commissioner one of the things that I’ve learned over the past year and a half is it’s easy to have a soundbite, but when you start digging into it it’s a much deeper topic,” said Commissioner John Barofsky, who represents wards 2 and 3 in southeast Eugene, speaking on the topic of building and vehicle electrification, another subject the EWEB board and other elected officials are grappling with.
Board decisions aren’t made in a vacuum. Commissioners hold regularly scheduled public meetings on the first Tuesday of each month, typically starting at 5:30 p.m. Customers and the general public are welcome and encouraged to view meetings and submit public comments at eweb.org/Board.