The price of the electricity that Tri-County Electric buys from TVA is increasing because of rapid increases in fuel prices around the world. Skyrocketing prices for fuels TVA uses to make electricity, such as coal, natural gas and power purchased from other energy suppliers, will cause wholesale electricity prices to increase about 20 percent effective October 1st.
Tri-County Electric member-owners use an average of 1300 kWh per month. Based on average usage, their monthly electric bill will increase approximately $18.73.
The bulk of the increase is the direct result of rising fuel prices, which are recovered quarterly through TVA’s Fuel Cost Adjustment (FCA) mechanism. The FCA is based on the direct cost of fuel used in TVA’s generating plants, and the cost of purchased power that TVA uses to supplement its power generation. About 56% of TVA’s power supply comes from fossil fuels used to make electricity – coal, oil and natural gas. A variety of factors, which TVA cannot control, affect fuel and purchased power costs, including the weather and changes in market prices for various fuels. Many utilities, including most of those neighboring TVA’s service area, use similar mechanisms to adjust their rates and are faced with similar rate increases.
In addition, continuing drought conditions mean that TVA has been able to generate only about half as much inexpensive hydropower this year as it would generate in an average year. When TVA cannot generate that hydropower, it must buy replacement power at market prices.
The remainder of the TVA rate increase will cover additional fuel-related costs, such as increased coal inventory costs, and the expansion of TVA’s energy efficiency and demand reduction program.
“When the prices of these fuels increase, TVA’s costs increase. As a distributor of TVA power, when higher prices force TVA to increase its rates, we must pass those costs along to our customers, “said Paul Thompson, Executive V.P. & General Manager, of Tri-County Electric. “Tri-County Electric will receive no additional revenue from TVA’s rate increase.”
Two years ago TVA implemented the FCA mechanism to help recover rising fuel prices on a quarterly basis. The FCA is an important tool to help recover costs in a timely manner in order to maintain TVA’s financial health.
“We realize TVA’s fuel cost adjustment and rate increase places a burden on our member-owners,” Thompson stated. “There are some ways to offset the higher rate and we certainly want to share this information.”
To start saving energy and money on their power bills, Tri-County Electric member-owners may take a few simple steps, which include completing an online home energy audit at energyright.com or contacting their local Tri-County Electric office. Member-owners who complete the audit will receive a free energy efficiency kit to help them get started.
When used these energy-saving tips will reduce their bills:
• Turn up your cooling system’s thermostat: over an eight hour period, each degree thermostats are set back can save 3% on heating bills and each degree they are set up can save 5% on cooling bills.
• Lower the setting of your water heater thermostat.
• Turn off lights, appliances, computers and other home electronics when not in use.
• Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents, which use 75 percent less energy and last 10 times longer.
• Use the microwave or toaster oven instead of a stove burner or oven for cooking.
• Operate dishwashers and clothes washers only with full loads and after 8 p.m.
• Take the energy right Home e-Valuation mentioned above, receive the free energy kit, use all the contents and save $2 - $4 per month.
• Visit us at www.tcemc.org for additional tips on lowering your monthly bill.