SUB Responds

Eugene Weekly recently reported on a dispute between Emerald Public Utility District and Springfield Utility Board regarding which electric utility should serve parts of southeast Springfield. The article contained errors, which we would like to address.

First, to restate SUB’s argument: Critical city services, such as police and fire, extend with city boundaries, and so should electric service. This allows for orderly, efficient planning and development, which is fundamental to affordable rates and reliable service.

When EPUD declined to meet with SUB on the issue, we initiated a validation action with the Circuit Court — an information gathering tool — not, as the article incorrectly states, an eminent domain proceeding. The article also states that the court ruled SUB does not have the authority to condemn EPUD infrastructure. In fact, the court concluded “SUB lacks the authority to condemn EPUD’s facilities as described in Resolution 22-2,” which did not include a review of real property interests. 

The article also states that SUB has raised rates for years while EPUD’s rates have recently remained unchanged. Your readers may be surprised to learn SUB’s rates have been lower than EPUD’s for decades, per the state of Oregon. The most recent analysis shows SUB’s rates to be 40 percent lower than EPUD’s. 

We appreciate the opportunity to correct the record. 

Jeff Nelson
General Manager
Springfield Utility Board

Editor’s note: The story has been updated to reflect that SUB had filed a validation action with the Circuit Court to get permission to use eminent domain to take over EPUD’s infrastructure, and that SUB does not have the authority to “condemn” the EPUD infrastructure servicing the 200 homes in Natron per their request. And while SUB’s rates are indeed lower than EPUD’s, the fact remains that SUB raised their rate nine times.