eweb\'s steam heating system is failing fast.
Eugene hydro plans to close its steam heating plant-
It still serves around 24 buildings in downtown Eugene and nearbyin 2012.
But after a series of steam pipe failures
Last month, last time.
The utility says it may close some customer lines as soon as possible to avoid expensive repairs to systems with limited days.
The Commissioner will vote tonight on a resolution that will allow the EWEB to permanently shut down individual steam lines if the system fails and not repair or replace them.
According to an EWEB status report, among customers who are still using steam to heat areCity Hall, County Courts, Shide, northwestern Christian University, Peace health care and the EWEB itself.
EWEB spokesman Joe Harwood said no one would be left out despite the harsh wording of the resolution.
\"We won\'t leave anyone without heating.
If there is a fault from now until the end of the 2011 hot season, we will fix them.
\"We will let you through the hot season,\" he said . \".
EWEB has steam heating system-
In addition to itselectric and tap water supply-
Since buying from a private company.
There were 275 customers.
It includes commercial and apartment buildings, churches and government offices in the city center.
However, customers have slowly moved away from steam heat, while EWEB has only 100 steam customers.
With the loss of some big users
A vegetable cannery that uses steam for food processing and heating, as well as most of the business of the Heart Medical Center
A few years ago, the utility began warning that shutting down the system could be the most costly --
Provide effective choices for customers and utilities.
EWEB estimates that the heating cost of steam is 65 cents per square foot, compared to 35 cents for high heat
The efficiency of the electric heat pump is natural gas and 22 cents.
By 2008, with decreasing customers facing higher and higher costs, utilities set the closing date as June 2012 and started working with the remaining customers to help them switch to the new system.
Of the 58 buildings with steam heating in 2008, 36 have completed the transition or are in the design and construction phase, he said.
Now, this is a waiting game: While waiting for the remaining customers to switch, see if the failed system will stay.
Last month, when a steam pipe failed under the roads of olivestret and Eighth Avenue, EWEB had to replace a section of 8-
Mike Logan, project manager at EWEB steam, said there are a few holes in the inch pipe that can be traced back to 1910.
He said Logan will show the Commissioner that pipeline at tonight\'s board meeting.
He estimates that there are about six miles of steam pipes under the downtown streets, and from now until June 2012 it is safe to assume that more sections may fail.
While utilities have a high cost of repairing these pipes, they also have safety risks.
Logan said that the blow pipe may release hot steam through the cracks on the sidewalk and burn someone, and more importantly, there is a reason to retire them as soon as possible.
\"We just don\'t know the status of the other lines.
\"We are guessing,\" he said . \"
Among the customers who changed steam, the First United Methodist Church changed the aging steam heating system to gas on last May. fired on-
Church trustee Will Sutton says they need a hot water boiler that caught fire for the first time in October.
So the church\'s heating and electricity bill for December 2010 was the third in the same period in 2009, Sutton said.
Based on this experience and the increase in insulation installed by the church program, Sutton is expected to save $33,000 a year, he said.
It\'s not cheap to transform the new heating system for the 43,660-square-foot building. The gas-
The cost of a combustion boiler is about $124,000 while upgrading the existing air handling system and placing the old pnuematic thermostat with a more efficient computer
Sutton said the cost of controlling regional systems was $308,000.
But he said the costs will be paid off in five or six years, and the total costs will be recovered in about 13 years.
The church also expects the new system to reduce production by 135,000 tons of itscarbon annually, Sutton said.
EWEB achieved a smooth transition by providing grant funding to help pay for engineering research on changes and help pay for loans to new boilers.
The utility also provides customers with access to other grant, loan and tax credit options through the Energy Department of the State Council.
EWEB hopes other customers will be inspired by the Methodist Church, Harwood said.
Steam Plant EWEB Commissioner considers line violations at 6: 35m.
Where it is today: 500 E. Fourth Ave.