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EWEB Proposes Rate Increases

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.

6 comments

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  1. Shannon says:

    It would be so nice if instead of paying their employees so much they actually cut the prisoners, oh I mean customers, a break. Seriously how is it even legal that they can keep raising the rates and there is NOTHING that we can do about it? If we dont like our cable provider we have choices, if we dont like our phone provider we have choices….if our electric company continually rapes us we are stuck with it.

    Maybe it is time for the monopoly to end because the people of this community are literally sick and tired of every few months having more money for a necessity stolen from us.

    1. Paul says:

      I’m not an EWEB customer but I understand basic municipal structure. YOU are the one who voted in your representative. YOUR board member needs to hear from you if you have an issue with YOUR utility. Do you even know who your representative is?

  2. Alex says:

    It’s interesting that the EWEB spokesman says our rates are “dirt cheap” compared to the East Coast. The fact that EWEB is non-profit aside, how do average wages here compare? One needs to consider both sides of the equation, no? But depending on the compensation packages of some at EWEB, that may or may not occur to them. Bottom line, though, I’m not convinced that EWEB has always spent our money wisely. So now, like many folks on the East Coast, we get to pay more as a reward for greater conservation. Maybe if the board were held more accountable, things would improve some.

    1. DKendra says:

      Here here! When I heard this comment, I could only roll my eyes. We’re NOT the East Coast, EWEB! Prices here cannot be compared to there. Prices here cannot even be compared to California.

      And yes, that so many of their UN-specialized workers are paid extraordinarily well is beyond my comprehension. Specialization always commands premium wages, which is normal and which I don’t disagree with. I detest overpaying those whose jobs can be easily re-filled if a worker walks or is let go.

  3. Vickie says:

    When is enough……enough? For people that live paycheck to paycheck it’s becoming the question pay e.w.e.b.?..or eat?

  4. Sean says:

    These increases are too frequent! My opinion is that EWEB over spends there funds. They say that they can’t afford the upkeep but they always send a crew even for a small task, in the private sector one person has to do what two or three city workers do! Maybe they have too much overhead? I guess I am still upset that EWEB used a lot of out of town contractors when they built the new facility, that is a slap in the face to our local economy and tax payers that founded them. EWEB board members have always done what’s best for them.

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