FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 10, 2018
Contact: Jennifer Rennicks, SACE, 865-235-1448, [email protected]
Record Number Of Comments Submitted to TVA in Opposition to Proposed Rate Changes
Families, businesses, and concerned customers strongly oppose rate change proposal
Knoxville, Tenn. – After months of closed door meetings with limited stakeholder participation, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) gave the public only 30 days to respond to a proposal that will drastically change the way customers are billed, turning down a request for additional time for public comment.
The proposed changes to TVA’s rate structure will mean less control over customers’ power bills, more fees, and higher monthly bills. The deadline to submit comments in response to this proposal was yesterday, April 9, 2018. In this very short time frame, the public response has been loud and clear: This proposal is a bad deal for people throughout the Tennessee Valley.
With TVA’s proposed rate change, the average electricity customer could likely pay, in total, over $350/year before they even flip a switch ($29.24/month). This charge comes from what is called a mandatory or fixed fee: a flat charge customers must pay every month, regardless of how much energy they use. The exact monthly fee depends on the customer’s Local Power Company (LPC), many of which do not even itemize this charge.
“One of the most troubling aspects of TVA’s proposal is that it is only the first step in a plan that will ultimately increase monthly costs and take more personal control away from families and businesses throughout the Tennessee Valley,” said Dr. Stephen A. Smith, Executive Director of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE). “TVA’s plan to add what they are disingenuously calling a ‘Grid Access Charge’ at the wholesale level is a thinly veiled push for Local Power Companies to pass those charges on to their customers. This change in the rate structure means that the small businesses and lower energy customers throughout Tennessee will continue to bear an ever-increasing financial burden at the benefit of TVA, while a handful of large industrial customers get discounts and sweetheart deals.”
Local bills aren’t the only things hiding information, however. As outlined in this newly published blog, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy has been digging into the details of the published proposal, as well as more in-depth information, only accessible via a series of Freedom of Information Act requests. It is clear that TVA is intentionally using heavy-handed rate structure changes and trying to hide the real intent of these changes – an attempt to limit energy efficiency and new technologies such as solar generation and battery storage options for residential and small business customers.
Recent studies show that over the past 5 years TVA has cut rates for industrial customers by about 20 percent, while raising rates for residential customers by about 5 percent, shifting $1.4 billion in costs from industrial to residential customers. The new proposal will continue that trend by prioritizing large industrial customers, at the expense of residential and small business customers.
SACE, along with thousands across the Valley, strongly oppose this proposal, expected to be voted on at TVA’s next board meeting, in Muscle Shoals, Alabama on May 10, 2018.
The full text of SACE’s comments submitted to TVA can be viewed here.
About Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Founded in 1985, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible energy choices that work to address the impacts of global climate change and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. Learn more at www.cleanenergy.org.