Chattanooga-area power bills set to rise five percent

Chattanooga-area power bills set to rise five percent

May 20th, 2011 by Ellis Smith in Local - Breaking News

EPB operator O'Fair Brooks, left, and EPB lineman Charles Sales replace a utility pole near the intersection of Mountain View Avenue, and Crest Drive after a severe storm uprooted trees and damaged area homes. Staff Photo by Dan Henry/Chattanooga Times Free Press

EPB is set to increase its electricity rates effective July 1, according a proposal submitted to the Chattanooga-area utility's board Friday morning.

The proposed five percent rate hike will help to make up for more than $30 million in storm expenses for 2011, compared to EPB's storm budget of $2 million.

Harold DePriest, president and CEO of EPB, said that he originally planned to raise rates four percent, but the severity of the storm forced him increase it.

"Little things like $30 million storms have a way of taking away any spare cash," he said.

On the other hand, DePriest would have had to implement the increase in 2010 had it not been for increased revenues from the his new fiber optic services, he said.

The last rate hike was four years ago, when the company publicly said that it would last three to five years, DePriest said.

"We think this one will last five to eight years," he said.

The increase must be approved by EPB's board and TVA to become effective. There are no public hearings.

For more information, pick up a copy of Saturday's Chattanooga Times Free Press.