Why your utility bill could go up this fall
It's the sixth year in a row for the 1.5% increase from Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).
When you get your power bill in November, it might be a little higher than you expect. This is because the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is raising the rate it charges utility companies to buy energy. It's the sixth year in a row for the 1.5% increase.
In recent years many people have become more savvy about energy usage in their homes. Because of the overall decrease in demand, and the weather in any given year, TVA says it has to absorb the cost by raising its wholesale rate.
This means companies like EPB who buy from TVA have to decide whether to increase what you pay per kilowatt hour, add a flat fee for accessing the power grid, or both.
EPB spokesperson John Pless says the company is going with a rate hike.
"EPB has decided not too pass along that grid access fee. We're going to absorb that, at least for the next year. So that fee will not be passed along to our customers," says Pless.
He says EPB's rates are a little lower than this time last year, and the flat "grid access fee" is a new and unfamiliar option. So they didn't want to experiment with it yet.
"We do some careful evaluation of what TVA is doing, but we look at what our customers expect, what our customers need," adds Pless.
Other companies like Cleveland Utilities (CU) are taking a different approach. Tim Henderson, president and CEO, says he'll go with the flat fee because, for the average customer, it will be offset by a planned slight decrease in CU's rates.
Pless says, anyway you look at it, most utility companies don't make a big profit off electricity. He says for every dollar EPB spends, 80% of it goes to TVA. The rest has to be used wisely to maintain operations.
"That's for us to pay salaries, to maintain the smart grid, replace equipment as needed, and also to be ready when we have storms," explains Pless.
He says the average EPB customer can expect an increase of around $2 a month, depending on how you use electricity.
"We can do a complete evaluation of the home and tell them about any opportunities they may have to increase their energy efficiency," says Pless.
More Information | EPB eScore Home Evaluation Program
EPB customers can also track their electricity usage on the free MY EPB app, which alerts you when you've gone over a certain dollar amount each month.
For details on the rate you pay, call your power company. The TVA rate hike begins October 1, 2018.