MCKENZIE BRIDGE, Oregon (STPNS) -- White trucks will continue to service power lines in the lower McKenzie River area. They’ll also continue to bear the logo of the Eugene Water & Electric Board. It’s the result of a study that could have involved a multi-million dollar deal that would have switched them from municipal utility customers to becoming members of the Lane Electric Cooperative.
Last summer, area residents received a joint letter from the Eugene Water & Electric Board and Lane Electric notifying them the two utilities were in the process of exploring a potential service territory transfer of EWEB’s McKenzie River Valley territory to Lane Electric.
“Both our boards felt this was worth investigating to see if there were mutual benefits,” according to Lane Electric general manager Rick Crinklaw.
Getting a lot of attention were some subtle differences in how an entity like EWEB - which generates electricity and also buys power - compares with a cooperative that is solely supplied by the Bonneville Power Administration. Each have very long term contracts with the BPA that could have involved some complex negotiations. Adding to the complexity was the issue of determining a value to place on both the power lines and the distribution system serving some 7,000 EWEB customers - but also in calculating a purchase price that would pencil out for Lane Electric.
“Given the number and com-
plexity of the components involved to make a transfer such as this viable, our teams have concluded that a transfer does not provide sufficient benefits to our respective utilities,” according to EWEB spokesman Joe Harwood.
The transfer initially appeared to make technical, operational and general business sense, it did not fully meet the goals of our respective utilities at this time,” Harwood noted. “Consequently, EWEB and Lane Electric have terminated transfer discussions.”
“As much as we worked the math together we just couldn’t bring the two things together - power supply and determining value,” Crinklaw said. “There needed to be mutual benefit to both utilities as well as their respective customers.”
Should circumstances change in the future, both EWEB and Lane Electric agreed it would be prudent to leave the door open for further discussions.
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