The Eugene Water and Electric Board is using its recent property sale to help pay for its Carmen Smith Hydroelectric Project. The $100 million retrofit of the McKenzie River dam is EWEB’s largest construction project ever built.
EWEB sold their river-front property in April for $5.75 million. The company originally intended for it to go toward the debt from their new Roosevelt Operations Center in West Eugene.
Joe Harwood from eweb says shifting the money to the project creates a smaller burden on consumers:
"Ultimately customers would certainly have to pay to cover that bond and that debt service and by using the proceseds from the riverfront sale that’s money that we don’t have to pass on.”
The modernization of the Carmen Smith plant will allow federal regulators to grant a 40 year operating license in the coming months. Construction began last summer and is expected to finish in 2021.