Eugene (KMTR) - Last May, Eugene Water and Electric Board imposed a 3.1% electricity rate increase. This month, utility rates went up 5% for EWEB customers. Rates for both electricity and water could be on the rise again.
In order to prepare for next year’s $303 million budget, the utility plans to raise electricity rates by another 5.5% and water rates by 4% beginning in May.
EWEB spokesman Joe Harwood says Bonneville Power is charging more for the energy it sells to utilities and EWEB is trying to recover that cost from customers.
At the same time, power sales have dropped because more people are buying energy-efficient appliances and finding other ways to conserve.
“We hope by seeking out conservation to meet future low growth, that in itself is much more efficient than spending twenty, thirty, forty or fifty million dollars on a new generation facility,” Harwood said.
During a hearing Tuesday night, EWEB said just one person showed up to ask the board not to raise rates.
The public has another chance to express their views on Tuesday, December 6, before next year’s budget is adopted.If EWEB decides to initiate the rate hike, they will hold two more public meetings before making a final decision. Those meetings may come sometime this winter or early next spring.