Nine days without power: My ice storm story as an EWEB customer and employee
While beautiful and peaceful, buying a home on the edge of the forest and surrounded by trees has its tradeoffs. Moving “upriver,” I knew there would be more threats to prepare for, including Mother Nature’s seasonal surprises.Find Out More
EWEB achieves power restoration milestone over the weekend
Crews have so far restored power for 92% of customers who originally lost power at the height of the ice storm.Find Out More
Reenergized McKenzie River Valley transmission lines allow EWEB crews to restore power upriver
On Friday, a majority of EWEB crews tackled power restoration efforts upriver, after federally managed transmission lines were reenergized Thursday.Find Out More
EWEB estimates one week to complete power system restoration
On Wednesday, EWEB crews restored power for about 10,000 customers by repairing large equipment first.Find Out More
Second round of ice and ensuing thaw prompt mass power outages
On Wednesday, all EWEB crews, who have been working nonstop since Saturday, traversed EWEB’s service territory assessing the damage and restoring transmission lines and main power feeders.Find Out More
Power restored at EWEB’s water treatment plant
Crews restored electric power at EWEB's Hayden Bridge Water Filtration Plant Monday evening, allowing operators to switch off the generators and rely again on the grid. Meanwhile, EWEB crews brace for additional outages amidst second round of ice and during the coming thaw.Find Out More
EWEB crews making downed lines safe and restoring power across Eugene and the foothills
As EWEB works to restore electric service to customers affected by the ice storm, the customer-owned utility is following established policies and its “hierarchy of repair” to prioritize repairs that restore electric service to the greatest number of customers.Find Out More
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
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
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
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Public Power Equals Local Control
October 04, 2021
Every year, more than 2,000 community-owned utilities - like the Eugene Water & Electric Board - across the nation observe Public Power Week during the first full week of October. The week-long event is a celebration of these not-for-profit electric utilities that serve the power needs of 49 million Americans.
This week, Oct. 3-9, we honor our 110-year history of serving the Eugene community with reliable, affordable and safe electric services. There are three types of utilities: public power, rural electric cooperatives and investor-owned utilities.
Unlike for-profit utilities who serve their investors, EWEB and other public power providers are community-owned and do not operate to earn a profit or benefit stockholders. Our prices are based on the costs to serve our community with safe, reliable water and electricity.
EWEB, owned by the citizens of Eugene did not increase electric prices in 2021, marking the fifth year in a row of no price increase for customers. That's not to say prices won't go up next year or in future years, rather, it is a testament to the hard work we do to keep prices affordable, and our elected commissioners and staff are dedicated to being good stewards of our customers' funds.
We are able to provide reliable electricity at affordable prices while still investing in our infrastructure, offering energy efficiency incentives, bill assistance programs for limited-income customers, and significant support for local school districts through grants. Last year, EWEB provided more than $1.5 million in bill assistance to more than 5,000 customers - many of whom suffered pandemic-related job losses.
All of this is made possible because EWEB is governed by five elected commissioners who live and work here in the community. Commissioners, who volunteer and are not paid, are directly responsible to Eugene voters. In fact, commissioners hold a public meeting the first Tuesday of each month, where any member of the public can directly speak to their elected representatives about utility business. Those served by investor-owned utilities do not have that option.
That local control has not only kept pricing affordable, but it also plays the decisive role in past, present and future decisions, policies and priorities.
Reflecting the community's strong ethic to protect the environment, our power portfolio is 90% renewable and carbon-free. Our investments in renewable energy - hydro, wind, biomass and small-scale solar have served our customers well, and will continue to do so for decades to come.
In 2019, we received a new 40-year federal operating license for our largest utility owned generation source, the Carmen-Smith Project on the upper McKenzie River. That new license triggered a series of investments that will upgrade the powerhouse and substation, rebuilding the fish spawning channel along with three campgrounds and other recreational, environmental and habitat improvements. We anticipate we invest more than $116 million over the next several years to maintain this carbon-free renewable generating facility.
EWEB was one of the first utilities in the Pacific Northwest to consider its watershed part of its drinking water infrastructure, and our significant investments to protect the McKenzie River over the past 100 years will benefit present and future generations.
Following containment of the Holiday Farm Fire in 2020, EWEB staff were among the first on the ground to stabilize the charred banks of the McKenzie. Partnering with other local groups dedicated to protecting the river and its floodplains we worked with landowners to keep toxic ash and other hazardous materials from entering the McKenzie.
The partnership has since replanted 90 riparian properties with 210,000 native trees and shrubs to begin restoring McKenzie River riparian zones.
Our strong commitment to our community can also be seen in how our employees - the people behind public power - work hard to provide the best customer service every day. These individuals from many departments including human resources, administration, accounting and finance, community relations, field crews, and engineering and operations, come together and serve our neighbors and the community in which we live.
And we are here, ready to respond 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year in service to more than 200,000 people in Eugene, parts of east Springfield and the McKenzie River Valley.