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Saturday, May 12, 2018

TVA adds charge
The Tennessee Valley Authority will impose a grid access charge for the first time this fall as an initial step toward pricing electricity more on a fixed monthly basis and less on how much energy is actually used. The rate restructuring approved by TVA directors Thursday takes a small step toward imposing more fixed costs on power bills, argues the board. They say the higher fixed charges for local power companies will be offset by a drop in the variable price of power. TVA President Bill Johnson said the change "will move a small amount of cost out of the variable category in each bill and put the same amount in the category for fixed costs so this is not a rate increase." But consumer and environmental groups argue the change will disproportionately hurt low-income customers and discourage energy generation from windmills and solar panels on homes and businesses. Nashville Mayor David Briley said the change will hurt low-income residents and undermine Nashville's efforts to become "the greenest city in the South." The initial charge, which will begin in October equals more than $600 million a year but is only half of what TVA first proposed due to concerns voiced by local power companies that buy TVA electricity. TVA is proposing the change in pricing as energy-efficient technology like self-generated power from solar panels are reducing consumption of TVA electricity. But while power sales decline, the utility must still maintain more than 16,000 miles of transmission lines. But Sandra Upchurch, co-chair of NAACP Tennessee State Conference of Environmental Justice Committee, says the pricing change is unfair. "TVA gives big industries a break on their energy usage the more they use, the more they save while imposing fixed fees and a mandatory grid access fee on to the local power companies who will then pass those charges on to struggling people and families to pay more," argues Upchurch.


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Saturday, September 22, 2018

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