EUGENE, Ore. — Time is running out to voice your opinion on EWEB’s proposed rate increase. If approved, the water rate increase will take effect in February. You’ll start seeing the electricity increase in May.
EWEB is asking the utility board to approve rate increases for both water and electricity. It’s asking for a 20-percent increase for water. That translates to an extra $5 per month for the average user. The reason is a decline in water demand.
EWEB says its water sales are down 20-percent since 2008. While sales are down, EWEB says it still has to maintain 800 miles of distribution pipe and operate its large filtration plant.
EWEB is asking for a 4-percent increase that would add about $3.75 to the average residential customer’s monthly bill. Two percent covers a relicensing fee for its hydroelectric plant. The other 2 percent covers lower surplus power sales due to the economy.
“It’s never a good time for a rate increase, especially since we’ve been experiencing this economic malaise since 2008. But the bottom line is we have to operate an electric and a water system. In comparison to the East Coast, our rates are dirt cheap,” said Joe Harwood, EWEB spokesman.
Wholesale rates charged by Bonneville Power Administration will increase in November 2013, which means electric rates could go up again.
The second and final public hearing is Tuesday night at the utilities office on East 4th Avenue right before the board votes at 7:30 p.m.