ATHENS, Tenn. – The Athens Utilities Board (AUB) at its February 27 board meeting executed the first reading of a resolution allowing electric power rates to be increased by 2.9 percent to meet AUB operational and fiscal needs.

“We understand that no one welcomes a rate increase.  AUB would prefer not to have to rate increases, and our customers would rather not pay more for our services.  We absolutely understand that,” said AUB’s spokesperson Amy McDonald.  “But occasionally AUB increases are necessary to maintain a reliable power distribution system for the community and a healthy business.”

“TVA only allows us to distribute local rate increases across residential and small commercial classes,” McDonald said.  “For the average residential AUB power customer using 1,094 kilowatt hours of electricity per month the result will be an increase of $3.64, or roughly 12 cents per day, on the power portion of their AUB bill.”

For residential and small commercial customers, the availability charge will be most affected by the proposed rate increase.   The breakdown for the increase in the average bill will consist of the residential customer charge increasing by $2.00, and the remaining $1.64 will be collected in the energy charge.  “The cost per kilowatt hour will change very little,” McDonald said.  

AUB’s last power rate increase came in 2022.  “Our business, just like your household, has been impacted dramatically by inflationary pressures over the past five years. During that time, the cost of doing business, for things such as labor, insurance, and especially materials, has risen every year,” according to McDonald.

“We have raised rates only three times since 2008, those increases occurred as inflationary pressures began to hit our business hardest.  The increases were for 1% in 2018, 2019, and 2022 respectively.”  AUB General Manager Eric Newberry said.  “This 2.9% will represent our fourth increase in 16 years and when passed will represent an overall increase of 6.0 percent since 2008, while the consumer price index has increased by 45.7 percent.   We hate to go up on rates to our customers, and that is reflected in our overall record on AUB rate actions as compared to inflation,” according to Newberry.

It is important to point out that this rate increase is on the AUB portion of your bill. “We have no control over the TVA portion that consists of your seasonal base rates and total fuel cost adjustments,” Newberry said.  “TVA has told us to expect higher fuel costs adjustments on our wholesale bills due to the cold temps and off-system purchased power in January to meet the record demand,” according to Newberry.   About 83 cents out of every dollar that AUB’s power division collects go directly to TVA for wholesale power that is then distributed by AUB to the local utility’s 14,000 power customers.