More active winter costing TN Valley more money
This winter has been a weather roller coaster ride. We've had bone-chilling single digit temperatures and sunny days with highs in the 70's. We've had much more snow than usual.
This more active winter has been a more time-consuming and expensive one for road and power crews. It's been a beautiful spring-like day but there is a slight chance for snow flurries overnight. This abnormally cold and snowy winter has broken several local records when it comes the resources required to keep Tennessee Valley residents safe and warm.
January and February have been filled with multiple bouts of frigid temperatures, snow and ice. From your roads to your heater and of course your wallet, it's certainly caused more stress than a typical Tennessee Valley winter.
"We are definitely ready for spring time here at TDOT," TDOT Spokesperson Jennifer Flynn said.
TDOT salt, brine and plow trucks have kept busy, treating roads in an effort to cut down on accidents. This time last year they'd used $19,000 worth of salt in Hamilton County. So far this year, they've used nearly six times that at $114,000 worth. For brine, they'd used around $9,000 by last February, compared to around $24,000 this time around.
"That goes to show you how much salt we've been putting down out there," Flynn said.
The freezing temperatures have cost individual residents a pretty penny too, in some cases tripling their utility bills.
"This month it's $514," Chattanooga resident Cheyenne Walker said.
That's pushed more people toward agencies that assist low-income families.
"There really have been a lot more applications that have come through this year than in other years," LIHEAP Coordinator Linda Astacio said in a January interview.
EPB has also had a record number of "promise to pay" agreements from customers overwhelmed by their higher bills.
"We have used more power then we have used in at least 15 years for the month of January," EPB Spokesperson John Pless said.
And the most recent snow storm caused 36,000 power outages. EPB still tallying up its hefty price tag for those repairs.
"If you look at the overtime of our employees some of them working up to 30 hours at a time and then you look at the total number of people almost 700 additional people came to Chattanooga to help us," Pless said.
TDOT is pre-treating some roads in the higher elevations in case we do get another wintry mix overnight.