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Whatever fate comes to Leaburg Project, rates will increase for EWEB customers

The Leaburg Dam on the McKenzie River.
Brian Bull
The Leaburg Dam on the McKenzie River.

As EWEB’s board of commissioners ponder the possible deactivation of the Leaburg Hydroelectricity Project, it’s expected that rates will increase for the utility’s customers in any case.

Whether a complete or partial decommission of the dam and connected infrastructure is approved, EWEB says it’ll need capital investments exceeding $150 million. The lowest-cost alternative could have the utility raise electricity rates by 9% to 10% between 2023 and 2040.

“It is unfortunate, we recognize that will be impactful for our customers," EWEB's generation manager, Lisa Krentz, told KLCC. "We do not have the option of doing nothing at Leaburg, so we have to choose a path forward. All the paths forward do have a rate impact to our customers.”

EWEB commissioners will take up the matter next month. If decommissioning the Leaburg site is approved, work to remove the dam and lake wouldn’t start for at least a decade.

©2022, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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