Chattanooga power costs rise from pandemic low a year ago

file photo / Meters track the electric usage

The price of electricity will decline along with the early autumn temperatures next month, but the average power bill in Chattanooga will still be up by more than 5.3% from a year ago.

The Tennessee Valley Authority is cutting its monthly fuel cost adjustment, starting Wednesday, compared with the current month. But the fuel cost portion of the typical electricity bill will be up 22% from the average of the past three years when the pandemic and abundant gas and coal supplies pushed down fuel rates.

"The higher fuel rate is mostly due to expectations for increased natural gas prices and a small increase in TVA sales relative to the comparative three-year timeframe (which includes COVID impacts from September 2020)," TVA spokesman Scott Brooks said.

For the typical Chattanooga household using 1,295 kilowatt-hours of electricity a month, September's light bill will total $127.34, or $1.13 less than in August, according to EPB.

But next month's electric bill for the typical Chattanooga residential customer will still be up by $6.45 from the same month a year earlier.

TVA has cut its overall wholesale electric rates by about 4% since 2019 due to stable base rates and pandemic relief credits and other credits granted to local power companies that sign long-term power purchase agreements.

Despite recent increases this summer in TVA's monthly fuel cost adjustments, TVA Chief Financial Officer John Thomas said retail power rates in the Tennessee Valley are still below what they were a decade ago.

"TVA's effective rates have been going down while our peers' have been going up," Thomas told the TVA board earier this month before the panel adopted a fiscal year budget keeping electric rates stable for another year.

- Compiled by Dave Flessner who may be reached at 423-757-6340.