General Manager speaks to City Club of Eugene about EWEB’s present and future

Frank Lawson visited City Club on Friday, Feb. 20 to talk about “finding true north on EWEB’s compass.”

Frank’s speech touched on what EWEB is doing to maintain resiliency in the face of increasingly more powerful and destruction storms, plans for the riverfront site, Carmen Smith relicensing, capital planning projects, and other challenges facing the utility these days such as the increased cost of employee health care and PERS liability, and development of a second drinking water source.

Listen to the full presentation on KLCC: http://klcc.org/post/city-club-eugene-finding-true-north-ewebs-compass-ewebs-present-future

An additional $100,000 is available to help customers in need following the cold weather

In the weeks following the cold snap in December and January, we’ve heard from a number of customers who received higher than average electric bills. To help struggling families and individuals, we’re devoting an additional $100,000 to our Customer Care programs.

The extra $100,000 is on top of the $1.5 million already budgeted each year to help income-eligible customers and those who have lost their jobs.

To learn more, read the story on our new “Newsroom” on eweb.org: http://www.eweb.org/about-us/news.

Join us Feb. 17 for the Wiley Griffon signage dedication and forum

Celebrate Black History Month with the unveiling of a new historical marker for the home site of one of Eugene’s first African American residents, Wiley Griffon.

EWEB and the local chapter of the NAACP are joining together to commemorate Griffon’s home site, just southwest of the old EWEB credit union building at East Fourth Avenue and Mill Street.

EWEB identified a need for a public recognition of Griffon’s home site while drafting the riverfront master plan several years ago. Our Diversity Team worked with the local NAACP to develop a historic sign to be placed at the site.

A dedication event is planned for this Friday, Feb. 17 at 5:30 p.m. The program includes a dedication by GM Frank Lawson and Eric Richardson of the NAACP, refreshments, and a presentation about how the organization Oregon Black Pioneers and other community members are helping preserve and reveal this rich history.​

EWEB’s website is getting a makeover

We are excited to let EWEB customers know that we are launching a new website the week of Feb 13! The new eweb.org will be easier to view on mobile devices, and we hope it provides a better online experience.

We are redirecting as many existing URLs as possible to relevant pages on our new site. However, if you bookmark any pages or documents on EWEB’s current website, some of those links could result in a “page not found” error message. Please let us if you experience any issues after the launch and we will work with you to provide updated page locations.

Greenpower Grant will help Kalapuya High School students learn about clean energy technology

Since 2007, thousands of EWEB customers have voluntarily chosen to support clean renewable energy and the environment through their participation in EWEB’s Greenpower program. The EWEB Greenpower grant program is part of our effort to reinvest Greenpower funding back into the community.

​In 2015, the Bethel School District was awarded a Greenpower Grant of up to $50,000 to fund its Bethel Green Energy Demonstration Site project at Kalapuya High School. The project included the installation of two solar photovoltaic electric arrays mounted on adjustable frames, and a retractable wind turbine, next to the school’s greenhouse and wetland.

With the help of a solar contractor, AC electrician and the University of Oregon, the Bethel Green Energy Demonstration installation began in July 2015. Kalapuya is happy to announce, that construction for the two photovoltaic electric arrays and the retractable wind turbine, have successfully concluded.


Retractable wind turbine and two solar panels at Kalapuya High school.

The EWEB Greenpower Grant program is designed to fund high-impact projects and programs that drive advancements in renewable energy for local customers, with emphasis on EWEB products, resources and priorities.

The Bethel Green Energy Demonstration program will launch in January 2017, with 14 to 45 students using green technologies to apply hands-on STEM learning.

Kalapuya Principal Kee Zublin, is currently working with the University of Oregon Solar Radiation Monitoring Laboratory to develop a curriculum relevant to solar technologies and principles of scientific investigations.

“By comparing wind energy production and solar energy production at this site, and then using those variables at another location, students will hopefully be able to conclude that there is no one size fits all approach to green energy. Some sites are more suited for wind and some are more suited for solar,” says Kee Zublin, Kalapuya High School principal.


Solar array on the high school barn that was built by Kalapuya students in the summer of 2016.

The farm is essential to the High School because as part of their Agriculture program, students grow vegetables that go directly to cafeterias in their school districts and to district families most in need of healthy, fresh produce.

Starting in January, the solar array system will be a key part in running the high school’s farm without spending any money on energy. In addition, the energy generated will be sent back to EWEB’s utility grid.

High school students currently conduct several experiments for fourth graders who complete an onsite ‘outdoor school’ day. In January, the wind and solar installations will be part of this trip. This will enhance the elementary school students experience by allowing them to work with real gadgets.

“We are so grateful to EWEB for working with us, giving us this resource and continuing to guide us through this process. We’ve had a long -ime relationship with EWEB that has been really beneficial to our school. Our partnership with EWEB has enriched the lives of some many of our students. We are very, very grateful,” says Zublin, Kalapuya High School Principal.

EWEB’s 10th Anniversary Run to Stay Warm was one for the record books

The annual Customer Care fundraiser was a fantastic success thanks to a whole community of support.

We like to say, “It never rains on race day,” but that adage didn’t hold true for EWEB’s 10th Anniversary Run to Stay Warm. Runners and spectators huddled under the skybridge and north building eaves as patches of heavy rain soaked the River Edge Public Plaza the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

You might think the weather would be a wet blanket for our fundraising effort, or dampen the spirits of around 1,400 runners, spectators and volunteers who turned out for the event. But this is Eugene, and Run to Stay Warm is a tradition that benefits a great cause.

So despite the rain, this year’s event set another fundraising record. The 2016 Run to Stay Warm raised $47,279 for Customer Care!

These funds will help income-eligible customers who are struggling to pay their utility bills and stay warm through the winter months.

Here’s a look back at some more statistics for this record-breaking year:

•1,228 people registered for the event
•A total of 1,100 people crossed the finish line
•63% of runners were female
•65 EWEB employees volunteered over 200 hours during the weekend of the event
•Nine businesses provided cash sponsorships totaling $7,400
•Net proceeds raised = $47,279!
•Total raised to date = $212,200
While revenue from registrations and sponsorships was down slightly (5%) in 2016, the organizing team was diligent about watching costs, and was able to reduce event expenses by around $2,000 compared to 2015.

We want to send a another shout out to all the folks who were involved:

•Core Team Members who planned, coordinated and executed the event: Kristen Langham, Zulema Jones, Tom Williams, Christina Svetal, Nate Wahto, Jose Wren, Brice Estes, Jen Connors.
•Facilities Services who did all the heavy lifting (figuratively and literally) with delivery, set-up, and clean-up.
•Our invaluable volunteers–EWEBers and family members who dedicated part of their weekend to help out and support a good cause.
•Our generous sponsors–local businesses and organizations who provided financial and in-kind donations.
One quote from the participant survey sums up this year’s event pretty well:

“I love that this is a community event to support Customer Care. This is my second time participating and I’ve had two great experiences. The volunteers all have great attitudes and are super supportive and helpful. Thanks for a great race!”

Given this year’s success, perhaps it’s time for a new race day slogan. How about, “This is Eugene. A little rain won’t stop us!”

EWEB’s Fleet Services is named one of the greenest fleets in North America (again)

Green Fleet has named EWEB’s Fleet Services the 14th Greenest Fleet in North America. It is the second time EWEB has been recognized through this awards program.

fleet

The Green Fleet Award program recognizes governmental based fleet operations that demonstrate sustainable practices in fleet composition, fuel and emissions, policy and planning, fleet utilization, education of the community, and executive and employee involvement. In 2015, EWEB ranked 10th, its highest ranking ever.

EWEB has long been a leader in the use of alternative fuels as it has been recognized with several sustainable awards throughout the years for its efforts. Earlier this year, EWEB’s Fleet Services was named as the top sustainable fleet in the nation through NAFA’s Sustainable Fleet Accreditation Program.

EWEB’s fleet Services is proud to be a leader in promoting the use of environmentally friendly programs in all aspects of its daily operations. “For our utility to be selected as one of the best from a national applicant pool is certainly an honor and demonstrates our community’s exemplary commitment to eco-friendly and sustainable practices says,” Gary Lentsch, Fleet Supervisor.

Fleet Services is committed to the use of greener fuels and being at the forefront of commercializing alternative fuels like Renewable Diesel and Ethanol to improve the environment and create economic opportunities for our community. Today over 57% of the fuel used by our fleet operations are from some type of alternative fuel. Because of the alternative fuels that we use, we have be able to lower the carbon intensity of the fuels used in our fleet by over 34% (based off of our 2009 levels).