Restoring your power
Restoring power in a Snowstorm

When the power goes out, the Eugene Water & Electric Board's first priority is to get it back on as quickly as possible. Most routine outages are repaired in less than an hour, but following severe storms, it can take days to restore power to everyone.

EWEB follows a "hierarchy of repair" when restoring power following major outages. This is based on the idea of first repairing downed transmission and distribution lines that will restore power to the most number of people, then repairing wires that serve fewer customers.

Repairing one large transmission line first, for example, can restore power to thousands of customers, while repairing a small line serving a few people in a neighborhood often is more time consuming.

In a big storm where limbs and trees have knocked down hundreds of wires across Eugene, this hierarchy of repair can be frustrating to some customers who have to wait days for repairs at their home. However, this system is used throughout the utility industry to get power turned on the fastest to the most number of people.

There are steps EWEB takes to restore power, in order of importance:

Protect public safety

Our top priority is to clear downed power lines across streets and to make sure critical facilities, such as hospitals and public services, have power. This "make safe" priority often can take 24 hours or more following a major storm.

Damaged generation

Making sure generating plants are back up and running is the next step.

Transmission lines

Repairing lines that transmit power from generating plants to the local area is critical. Each repair often can restore power to thousands of people.

Substations

Most substations, which convert high-voltage power to use by individual homes and businesses, usually serve several thousand customers.

Distribution lines

"Feeder" lines leading out from substations serve several hundred to more than 1,000 customers.

"Tap" lines

These are lines that extend from feeder lines into individual neighborhoods. They often serve 20 to 300 customers.

Individual connections

This is the most difficult and time consuming task, and the one that can frustrate individual customers who have been without power for some time. Often, individual service lines or a transformer serving only a few customers are out.

Due to the overwhelming number of outages, property owners can now have a qualified electrician with a Supervisory credential to make temporary repairs to reattach service without EWEB approval, as well as make repairs to the weather head and meter base if needed. Costs for repairs completed by private electricians are the responsibility of the property owner or customer.

Electricians need to be prepared to assess the service line to ensure that the transformer serving the residence is functional, along with the utility’s power pole being intact.

If all primary phases, transformer and pole appear to be in a functional state, electricians will be authorized to cut or repair the service line to the customers’ home. If primary phases, transformers and pole appear to be damaged, do not repair, please call EWEB’s outage line at 1-844-484-2300. Safety is our first priority.

Customers who use a private electrician should fax Supervisory letter to EWEB at 541-685-7506 once this repair has been made.

This permission for electricians is only for the current ice storm outage (December 2016).