TVA to increase rates 10% by 2025
By Logan Watson
Electric rates will be increasing soon, but it won’t be Trenton Light & Water or other local utilities that will be reaping the benefits, according to Utility Manager Joe Wamble.
Wamble stated that with the recent high temps and last year’s record cold snap, it is becoming evident to the Tennessee Valley Authority that it does not have enough capacity to fill the demand.
“Our world is changing,” Wamble said, “and with that, TVA is going to implement some changes that we’re not going to have any control over.”
Wamble noted that growth was one of the contributing factors, with an estimated population increase of 1.5 percent across the TVA’s seven-state service area, but regulations from the federal government have also put the nation’s largest public power company in a bind.
“TVA is supported by its 10 million customers. They pay the bill, but the federal government regulates TVA to a certain extent. One of the big things that’s going on with TVA, and has been for the last two or three years, is decarbonization. The coal plants are in the process of being taken down. They don’t have anything to produce power with.”
Wamble said that while the TVA is working on increasing production using nuclear power, windmills, solar farms and hydrogen gas, but the creation of those plants will take time.
“Not all of these things are completely TVA’s fault, but Trenton Light & Water is going to get the black eye in Trenton,” Wamble said. “The whole TVA system is going to be rebuilt. By October 2025, they’re going to give us a 10 percent increase in the power bill. We may get it sooner and I don’t know how it’s going to be broken down, but it’s going up. The only choice that we have at Trenton Light & Water is to pass that on to the customers when that increase comes. That’s not all of it. They’re not done after that.”
Wamble stated that new industries or factories that will require a heavy electrical load, they will have to agree to an interruptible load contract with TVA. In addition, a new TVA Emergency Load Curtailment Plan will require all local power companies to participate in rolling blackouts.
Mayor Tony Burriss stated that any TL&W customers with medical equipment that requires a constant power supply should consider a backup generator if they do not already have one.
“If this is the future, then the public needs to understand,” Mayor Burriss said. “They need to be prepared.”
“There are a lot of other spinoffs that are going to be happening from this,” Wamble said. “We’ll talk more about it next month as things unfold with the TVA.”
The TL&W Utility Board will also be discussing the TVA disconnection policy at the September meeting. Board members briefly discussed the process at the July meeting and requested a copy of the policy, ostensibly with the goal of looking for ways to reduce write-offs incurred by customers who move without paying their bill.
Project Manager Billy Hill stated that the construction of the new Trenton Light & Water facility is currently on sch
edule and has not exceeded the budget. Metal roof trusses have been installed over the office portion of the building and the building should be in the dry very soon.
“There are a few tasks that we’re a little behind on, but there are others that we’re way ahead on, so we feel like the schedule is right where it needs to be,” Hill said. “We feel like we’re on time and maybe a little ahead.”
Hill also noted that Lashlee-Rich has not experienced any delays due to supply chain problems and no subcontractor prices have increased from their previous estimates.
“Eventually y’all are going to think that we’re not doing anything, because it will all be on the inside,” Hill said.
While some customers have noted that they wish the building would have a drive-thru, Mayor Burriss stated that people have been paying their bills at the Steele Building without a drive-thru for the last two years.
“Our thinking was that 10 or 15 years down the line, there will be so many paying with [their phones] that a drive-thru will be obsolete,” Mayor Burriss said.