Electricity prices in the Tennessee Valley will edge up from their current levels by 0.8% in January, typically the coldest and one of the highest electricity consumption months of the year.

But the prices for winter heating bills next month will still be 1.4% below a year ago as the Tennessee Valley Authority continues to pare its fuel expenses.

TVA's monthly fuel cost adjustment increase in January will add $1.17 to the typical residential bill of a Chattanooga EPB customer who uses the average monthly 1,295 kilowatthours of electricity. But the household using the normal amount of power next month would still save $2 compared with January 2019.

TVA adjusts a portion of its monthly charges to reflect changes in fuel costs and the price of purchased power. With more hydroelectric generation from rain-swollen rivers and more nuclear power generation, fuel costs are down for TVA about 8% from the average of the past three years, TVA spokesman Jim Hopson said.

Chattanooga price of power

For a typical residential customer of EPB using 1,295 kilowatthours of electricity a month, the bill will be:

* $142.40 in January 2020

* $141.23 in December 2019

* $144.40 in January 2019

Source: TVA. EPA

"This is primarily due to lower purchased power and gas rates in November and higher expectations for hydro generation in January," he said.

Alabama Power Co., which raised its rates nearly 3% in January to offset the cost of coal ash cleanup, will also take advantage of lower fuel expenses next month to lower its electric rates by an average 3% next year, according to company spokesman Michael Sznajderman.

For the first time in six years, TVA is not raising its base electric rates this year and most of the local power companies that buy TVA power are also getting a 3.1% rebate to actually lower their prices if the local companies sign a 29-year purchase agreement with TVA. Among the 154 municipalities and power cooperatives that distribute TVA power, 134 have so far signed up for the long-term agreements and are getting the rebates, including Nashville Electric Service.

But four of the five other biggest TVA distributors, including EPB in Chattanooga, have not signed the long-term agreement because of concerns about being locked into a single wholesale supplier for the long term if market and environmental conditions change.