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EWEB Utility Rates Increasing

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EUGENE, Ore. — EWEB voted Tuesday night to increase its rates yet again. Not surprisingly, its customers aren’t happy.

The utility blamed wholesale electric rates going up for the increase.

The EWEB board meeting was only supposed to include 10 minutes of public comment. But customers took up at least a half hour vocalizing their opposition to the increasing rates.

“I think Eugene is gonna grin and bear it, but we’re gonna get hit. People aren’t going to be able to afford it anymore,” said one customer.

EWEB already upped rates earlier this year, so of course folks keep asking why. Aside from increasing costs from the Bonneville Power Administration, EWEB says it’s just not getting the full value of some of its renewable energy sources anymore.

“The wholesale market is severely depressed. A lot of these renewable energy facilities are more expensive than the natural gas turbines,” said Joe Harwood, EWEB spokesperson.

EWEB says their continued investment in these renewable sources are at the request of the public, so now that extra expense has to passed along to the consumers.

Servicing about 88,000 customers, EWEB is one of the biggest providers in the area, but it’s not the only one. So how are others dealing with the poor economy?

“Every utility has an expense to deliver electricity to the meters, but those vary with utilities,” said Dave D’Avanzo, Member Services Manager.

Despite those differences, turns out EWEB isn’t the only one affected. Both the Emerald People’s Utility District and Springfield Utility Board are feeling the pressure to charge their customers a bit more in 2013. Lane Electric Co-op is hoping to stave off any increases, but understands how difficult it is for those left without much choice.

“It’s painful to have to do a rate increase because we realize how much it impacts our members,” D’Avanzo said.

Repeatedly, each of the utility companies expressed the importance of their customers and hopes they all understand this isn’t done easily.

“Again, nobody including the commissioners, our general manager, our assistant general manager, nobody wants to go out and raise rates right now,” Harwood said.

EWEB and its fellow utility companies say they work to keep rates as low as they possibly can for their customers. Prior to these increases, EWEB noted cutting 63 positions in June to help cut costs.

3 comments

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  1. jason marks says:

    try cutting employee benefits, raises, retirement and perks.

    heavens to betsy we can’t do that.

    Bad spending decisions.. what ever eweb wants it gets.

    ITS TIME FOR THAT TO STOP

    Fat sloppy retirement packages and pay is the problem.

  2. Andrew H. says:

    I think it’s time someone began a petition to recall ALL EWEB board members. You can count on me to carry a petition door to door!

  3. Melissa says:

    EWEB is out of control along with their wages and benefit packages. We the people can barely afford to pay for what electricity we get now. My husband and I both work full time and do not make near what some of those people make a year, combined! Maybe those people need to take pay cuts and feel what the rest of us feel on a daily basis. It isn’t any fun to have to stuggle from pay check to pay check. You know maybe it wouldn’t be so hard for us to swallow if you didn’t have 79 people at EWEB who make over 100k a year. What do those people do that justify’s that kind of salary? High voltage workers, skilled labor I get, but executives and office staff, no! And knock down your Holiday pay. Get the normal 6 that every other person gets. MLK Day, Columbus Day? Come on? Time to find some answers EWEB and raising your rates again is not it. Cut your expenses and give the rest of us a fighting chance! If I could, I would move just so I don’t have to pay you another cent!

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