Inflation-weary consumers will get a bit of a reprieve on their monthly power bills next month as cheaper fuel cuts the price of electricity in Chattanooga for most customers by 4.8% in April.
EPB said the typical residential homeowner who uses 1,295 kilowatt-hours of electricity each month will pay $6.45 less in April than in the current month. Rates are also down 2% from a year ago due to reductions in the monthly fuel costs adjustments by the Tennessee Valley Authority, which supplies wholesale power to EPB and 152 other local power companies in its seven-state region,
"The April fuel cost is down significantly from March and definitely from last summer's record highs," TVA spokesman Scott Brooks said in an emailed statement. "March still included some of the increased fuel costs from winter storm Elliott (in December 2022), and April is usually expected to have mild weather, which also contributes to the decrease."
Nonetheless, compared to the past three years, the April fuel cost adjustment was still 6% above the three-year average.
"The slightly higher fuel rate is mostly due to higher coal prices, relative to the comparative three-year time frame which includes COVID impacts," Brooks said. "Although natural gas prices are still quite volatile, they have declined considerably from prior months and are now in line with the three-year average gas rates."
TVA has not changed its base electric rates since 2019, but it adjusts a portion of its electricity price each month to reflect the volatility in the price of coal, natural gas and other purchased power. The war in Ukraine last year and the subsequent boycott of Russian energy supplies helped to more than double the price of natural gas and boosted coal and other fossil fuels as well last year.
TVA projects April power sales will be up by 3% over the average for the previous three years as electricity demand continues to grow with more electric vehicles and more homes and businesses in the Tennessee Valley.
EPB spokeswoman Sophie Moore said in an emailed statement that while bills may be less in April, electricity bills typically rise during the hot summer months during the peak demand periods for the city-owned utility.
Moore said EPB recently updated its MyEPB app so that customers can now use it to pay both their electric and fiber optics bills.
"The MyEPB app also allows customers to view their EPB energy use in real time as well as current usage compared to last year," Moore said.
For those looking for ways to reduce their power bills, the utility also offers its EPB Pros, who visit homes and offer energy-saving advice at no cost to the consumer. More information is available by calling EPB at 423-648-1372 or visiting the utility online at epb.com