Why has TVA encouraged its local power companies to raise mandatory fees for its customers?

Over the past seven years, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has approved an average 50% increase in mandatory fees charged by its local power companies. But if you’re a residential customer on TVA’s system, this information may not appear on your bill, and you may not even be notified when your utility is considering an [...]

How are TVA’s customers reacting to TVA’s new electric bills?

Recently, SACE released a report by Synapse Energy Economics detailing evidence that the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) changed its electricity prices to favor industrial customers to the tune of $1.4 billion over the past several years. TVA made one public disclosure in 2015 that prices were being cut for industry and raised for residential customers – and privately boasted about the industrial rate cut to its “direct serve” customers.

One reason few customers noticed is that TVA’s overall rates were not rising very fast. Considering all customers of TVA and its local power companies, TVA’s rates increased only 2% from 2011 to 2016. The 5% average rate hike for residential customers, or about 1% per year, may have seemed like normal inflation to most customers.

Who has been getting $1.4 billion in rate cuts from TVA?

Beginning in 2011, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the largest government-owned utility in the country, began cutting cutting rates for industrial customers. This wasn’t publicly discussed by TVA except as part of a rate restructuring in 2015. TVA hasn’t promoted its rate cuts publicly since then. According to the Synapse report, thanks to these breaks from [...]

Overshadowed by coal ash issue, debate continues over Duke Energy’s fixed charge

As a high-profile hearing over Duke Energy’s proposed rate hike in North Carolina logged its seventh day, an expert witness for anti-poverty and environmental groups said the utility’s own data prove it should lower – not raise – the flat monthly fee it levies on residential customers.

Alabama PSC’s Gift List: Power Company “Nice,” Alabamians “Naughty”?

Every year on the second Tuesday in December, the Alabama Public Service Commission (PSC) holds a public meeting about Alabama Power’s rate structure and the cost impacts of keeping coal-fired power plants burning. If this meeting represented the PSC’s holiday gifts, it’s easy to see who the favorite child is… and it isn’t the bill-paying [...]

Are industrial power customers favored too much?

Across the Southeast, industrial power customers get special perks. One reason is that they can afford to hire lawyers and experts to persist in asking for the most favorable treatment they can get. One example of this is the advance payment for Georgia Power Company’s Plant Vogtle nuclear expansion project. Georgia Power customers have already [...]

Solar MythBusters #1: Clouds blocking solar in the Sunshine State?

SACE staff member Charlie Coggeshall contributed to this post. This is the first in a series of blogs on solar myths; stay tuned for future MythBuster posts in the coming months! Orlando Utility Commission (OUC) Vice President Chip Merriam recently propagated one of the greatest myths about solar – often heard in our region – while speaking [...]

What Is a Watt, Really?

Clean Energy. We’re all for it. In fact we’re the Southern Alliance for it. But what is it? I’m not talking about the “clean” part. That one word deserves its own essay. I’m talking about the “energy” part. We all have some idea about what energy is. We all pay utility bills. What we’re paying [...]

How Cheap Is Coal?

Remember when coal was king? Just a few years ago the consensus was that coal was cheap and abundant and would remain that way for the foreseeable future. Today, though, coal prices are increasing and becoming more volatile. Perhaps more important to us here in the Valley, TVA’s existing fleet of coal plants will soon [...]

To Avoid Price Shocks, We Must Meet Energy Needs

This guest post, written by SACE consultant Susan Glickman, originally appeared in the Sunshine State News, 22-Aug-12. Read the post and view the comments here. The energy challenges of the 21st century demand new ways of doing things — namely, moving from the old paradigm of “selling energy” to one where we “meet energy needs” with [...]