Electric Outage: 1-844-484-2300
Water Emergency: 541-685-7595
EWEB Main: 541-685-7000
Our skilled journeymen are experts in their field, with thousands of training hours and real-world experiences.Find Out More
National Infrastructure Week (May 14-20) may be a politically charged quip on the national stage, but for EWEB, the urgency and importance of infrastructure is no joke.Find Out More
By upgrading substations – key nodes in the electric grid – EWEB is investing today in a resilient electric grid for the future.Find Out More
Seventh graders in the Bethel School District put their handmade wind turbines to the test in a wind power challenge supported by EWEB grants last week.Find Out More
Follow along as the Currin Substation, the first of 10 substations in 10 years, is rebuilt from the ground up as part of EWEB's Capital Improvement Plan for major infrastructure investments to rehabilitate, replace, and install new infrastructure.Find Out More
Today and every day, we celebrate and honor the hard work, innovation and dedication of electrical line workers.Find Out More
It’s spring-- the time of year when birds are nesting in our trees. EWEB crews take special care to avoid disrupting birds when they’re trimming trees. But tree trimming is a necessary part of delivering safe and reliable power. We went out with a crew to find out how it's done.Find Out More
Old reservoir leaks, threatening water quality, and will fail when a major earthquake strikes.Find Out More
Crews are identifying and addressing equipment failures before wildfire season and doing so mitigates risk of fire ignition.Find Out More
The Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB) is expanding its capacity to provide water to customers in case of an emergency.Find Out More
To maintain the reliability customers have come to know and trust, EWEB must address an aging infrastructure bubble.Find Out More
For the past year, EWEB’s electric division has been preparing for a complete reconstruction of the Currin substation. Quite simply, it’s reached the end of its useful life.Find Out More
With cold and icy weather forecasted for the next several days, we want to share some tips on how to heat your home while still conserving energy. We also have tips on how to stay warm if there is a power outage at your home.Find Out More
In January, our elected Board of Commissioners approved an agreement for EWEB to make an unprecedented bulk purchase of substation transformers.Find Out More
An EWEB-supported program provides firewood for people affected by the 2020 Holiday Farm Fire. The McKenzie Firewood program was developed by Pure Water Partners (PWP) in 2021.Find Out More
September 15, 2022
On Wednesday, Sept. 7, the National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning for the Willamette Valley, predicting high winds from the east along with high temperatures and low humidity – conditions that could easily contribute to a wildfire’s spread.
EWEB activated our Incident Command System to assess, prepare and coordinate with local agencies and neighboring utilities. By Thursday evening, EWEB announced our first Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) for approximately 3,000 customers in the McKenzie Valley service territory, auto-dialing affected customers, sending emails, contacting local media outlets, posting on social media, and coordinating with Lane County Emergency Management to notify the public about this plan.
For public safety reasons due to severe weather forecasts, EWEB elected to preemptively deenergize more than 100 miles of line from Camp Creek to Vida, as well as approximately 100 miles of transmission line running from our Carmen Smith hydroelectric project.
“This decision was not made lightly,” said Tyler Nice, EWEB electric operations manager. “We weighed many factors and carefully considered all elements of a PSPS, including planning, operations, logistics, and critical community impacts to ensure safety for customers, community, and staff. We also partnered with local Lane County Emergency Management and upriver emergency response to ensure we understood how this would affect their operations.”
The extreme fire weather forecasts coincided with the two-year anniversary of the devastating Holiday Farm Fire of 2020. The eerie similarities heightened the sense of danger, especially for communities that lost so much.
A PSPS is just one tool that EWEB is using to reduce fire risk. This year, we adopted a wildfire mitigation plan, improving upon the numerous programs EWEB has in place for grid reliability and safety. The plan includes protocols for initiating Protective Settings Mode, which make power lines more sensitive, and PSPS. A PSPS is an operational practice used by utilities in California, Oregon, and Washington to shut off power in high-risk fire areas to prevent electrical equipment from contributing to a fire during extreme and potentially dangerous weather conditions. This was the first time since EWEB adopted a wildfire mitigation plan that forecasted and observed the conditions that met the criteria for a PSPS.
EWEB, in coordination with other utilities, made the decision to activate a pre-emptive safety shutoff on Friday afternoon at 5 p.m. and we were able to safely restore power to all customers by 3 p.m. on Sunday.
The work performed over the weekend was unprecedented for EWEB and has presented an opportunity for us to evaluate the protocols laid out in our Wildfire Mitigation Plan as they relate to planning, communication, and restoration. While flexibility of plans is important, we want our restoration work to be efficient and safe.
“We understand the hardship that any extended power outage can cause, including shutting off water systems and medical devices, especially under the conditions of heat and smoke which were present over the weekend due to the nearby Cedar Creek Fire,” said Nice. “EWEB staff worked methodically to create a safe and reliable restoration plan during this event, resulting in a quick restoration without incident to crews or the public. We chose to take a conservative and planned approach to restoration, allowing crews to restore only after inspecting every section of line to avoid any possibility of ignition upon re-energization.”
How can we be better the next time? That’s the question EWEB staff are focusing on now as we work diligently to improve our PSPS protocols. We met our objective during this event-- to mitigate the risk of wildfires safely and effectively--but there are still lessons to be learned and opportunities for improvement.
“I want to thank our crews, engineers, dispatchers and all EWEB staff involved in coordination and execution without prior experience with an event such as this. Our team brought their expertise and applied innovation to a new situation, creating a safe and methodical approach to mitigate a known risk, consistent with our number one utility value of public safety. We now have in place updated processes and procedures that will reduce restoration time if or when this happens again,” said Nice.
We continue to make improvements to our outage response process and investments to improve the resiliency of our systems, but even the most reliable infrastructure will never be completely immune to disruption. Extreme weather events can happen any time and power can be off for multiple days. It’s important to be prepared. We encourage our customers to create an emergency plan that accounts for all family members and animals, especially those with special medical or transportation needs, and practice it. EWEB offers additional information and best practices for emergencies on our website eweb.org/emergencyprep.
To help us reach you during future wildfire or Public Safety Power Shutoff events, please sign up for our Emergency Alerts & Preparedness e-newsletter
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Mailing Address: 4200 Roosevelt Blvd., Eugene, OR 97402
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Customer service phone hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday - Friday