Local Power Rates Edge Up Slightly In November

Media Contact:

Wayne Scarbrough

(423) 745-4501 ext. 6002


October 23, 2018


ATHENS, Tenn. – Local electric power rates will edge up slightly in November, based on higher fuel charges from TVA.


Both October and November are deemed “transition” months and carry the same base rate per kilowatt hour.  A monthly fuel charge is added to the base rate to determine the full monthly retail rate per unit.


The AUB residential power rate for November will be $0.08938 per kilowatt hour compared to October’s rate of $0.08771.  For the average residential user, the effective change will be less than two dollars in a month’s use period.


AUB’s Wayne Scarbrough said that with cooler weather moving into the territory, energy use could increase above the residential monthly average of 1160 kilowatt hours.


“Energy use in homes and many businesses is highly weather dependent.  Colder or hotter months bring more heating and cooling demand, which leads to higher energy bills during those seasons,” he said.


After the fall “transition” rate season, December will kick off four months of winter base rates, which are higher than in transition months.


“It is important for our customers to plan now on ways to keep their warm air inside and cold air out.  Simple steps such as adding insulation to attics, weather stripping around doors and windows, and setting the thermostat on 68 or 70 can make a real difference,” Scarbrough said. 


While temperatures can affect your bill, a critical component of the bill amount is the rate you pay.


Scarbrough said that AUB and other local utilities continue to press TVA regarding its plans for annual rate hikes when the agency’s revenues are strong, the need for capital spending is down based on demand in the Valley, and employee bonuses in excess of $110 million dollars a year have become the norm each November at the federal agency.


“TVA has launched a media campaign in our local market to convince our customers that they, TVA, are working to keep rates low in the Valley.  That’s a load of baloney,’” Scarbrough said.


He said that TVA has raised AUB’s wholesale power rate 10 times in 10 years totaling some forty percent in rate hikes since 2007.


“Does that sound like they are working to keep rates low?” Scarbrough asked.


Recently, TVA’s chief financial officer, John Thomas, said in a solicited interview with the Daily Post Athenian that looking at the increase in rates “doesn’t tell the whole story.”


“Mr. Thomas seems to know something about not telling the whole story,” said AUB General Manager Eric Newberry.


“For him to come into our community, look all of us in the eye and say that TVA raising rates 10 years in a row is not an issue is an insult to our community and our customers,” Newberry said.


“He is talking down to us from among seven-figure executives on the top floor of the TVA towers.  It is insulting to our community, but that is TVA management today,” Newberry said.


TVA charges AUB a wholesale rate for power.  AUB charges local power uses a retail rate, sometimes called the “effective” rate.


“TVA won’t talk about their wholesale rates, which are high compared to many parts of the country.


“They like to quote ‘effective rates’ in the Valley, but that’s not TVA’s rate.  That’s a shell game they play to ride on the coattails of local utilities that truly care about the people in the community, our customers,” Newberry said.


“It is the lean operations of local utilities such as AUB that have kept the effective rate in check, certainly not TVA,” he said.


In fact, Newberry said, TVA likely would balk if AUB wanted rate actions similar to TVA’s.

“As our regulator, TVA would never let us raise rates year after year after year the way they have and continue to do.  They would say, ‘that is not fair to the consumer,’” he said.