Price of power would go up under EWEB proposal

EUGENE, Ore. - The typical power bill would go up $50 per year under a proposal before the Eugene Water & Electric Board commissioners.

The board will hold the first of two public hearings on Tuesday, Sept. 6, to gather public comments about a proposed electric rate increase that would take effect in the fall.

Three primary factors are driving the proposed rate increase, according to EWEB:

  • The proposed overall 5 percent electric rate increase would recover additional costs resulting from wholesale energy price increases by the Bonneville Power Administration. Bonneville, which supplies EWEB with about 65 percent of its electricity needs, is increasing wholesale rates this fall for its utility customers in the Northwest. EWEB commissioners have a general policy of passing on to customers any increase or decrease in Bonneville power costs.
  • Another contributing factor is that EWEB will receive less energy from Bonneville under a new contract that goes into effect in October. Reduced power supply from Bonneville will decrease the amount of energy EWEB is able to sell on the wholesale market. Revenues from those wholesale power sales are used to keep customer rates lower.
  • Other power market factors, such as recession-related low wholesale power prices that have reduced available revenues, also are contributing to the rate increase.

The effect of the proposed rate action would result in an increase of about $4.24 per month, or 4.7 percent, for the average residential customer. The rate change would be reflected in customers' November bills.

Tuesday's regular Board meeting will start at 7:30 p.m. in the North Building at EWEB headquarters, 500 E. Fourth Ave.

Commissioners are expected to take action on the proposed rate increase following a second public hearing on Oct. 4.

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