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
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
EWEB now offering a Smart Thermostat rebate program
EWEB is excited to announce a new residential rebate program to provide electric customers with free or greatly discounted Smart Thermostats to customers whose primary source of heating is from an electric forced-air furnace or heat pump.Find Out More
Have an energy efficient and water conscious holiday season
The holiday season is officially upon us. Whether you are celebrating a special holiday or just sharing a meal with close friends and family, hosting can cause some unexpected energy and water usage increases – resulting in a higher utility bill. We’ve prepared some tips on how you can save energy and water this holiday season.Find Out More
River Road Substation returns to service after infrastructure upgrades
Supply chain shortages and proactive infrastructure investments, including constructing seismic foundations and implementing control modernization, have played a role in the substation's return-to-service timeline.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
The importance of managed electric vehicle charging explained
EWEB has much to handle related to EV charging infrastructure. To ensure that the switch from gasoline-powered vehicles to electric vehicles reduces the most emissions possible at the lowest cost possible, we need to implement managed EV charging.Find Out More
EWEB seeks public input on electric vehicle, demand response standards
EWEB is seeking public input on the potential adoption of updated standards for electric vehicles (EVs) and demand response programs. The potential standards are derived from the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, or PURPA.Find Out More
As prices increase, what can you do to take control of monthly utility bills?
EWEB’s Board of Commissioners is considering rate changes in 2024. Here are some ways to save money and manage your bill, and how EWEB can help.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
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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.