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Warmer weather this month will boost electricity bills for most households and businesses, but residential electricity prices in Chattanooga will still be 2.4% cheaper than a year ago.

Cheaper fuel prices this spring cut the fuel cost adjustment on Monday to the lowest June level since the Tennessee Valley Authority began its monthly fuel cost adjustments nearly 14 years ago.

As a result, the average household in Chattanooga will pay $136.87 for 1,295 kilowatt hours of power in June. That's 13 cents more than what that EPB residential customer paid for the same amount of power in May but $3.87 less than the year-ago price for the same electricity used in June 2019.

"While the actual costs in April were at record lows, the very slight increase from May considers other factors such as expected higher generation in June, which is typical for this time of year," TVA spokesman Scott Brooks said. "The overall system average fuel rate for June is approximately 25% lower than the three-year average June fuel cost adjustment. This is primarily due to pandemic impacts and mild weather which caused significantly lower sales for the month of April."

TVA has benefited by near record rains, which have boosted its cheapest power source — hydroelectricity — and lower demand which has allowed TVA not to have to turn to more expensive purchased power or electricity generated from combustion turbines.

The drop in fuel consumption has also cut gasoline prices from a year ago.

GasBuddy's daily survey of 170 gas stations in the Chattanooga area released Monday showed Chattanooga gas prices averaged 67.8 cents a gallon less than a year ago. The price of regular gas was unchanged in Chattanooga from a week ago, but fuel prices were up an average of 19 cents a gallon higher than the near-record lows reached a month earlier as driving slowed amid the shut down of many businesses due to the coronavirus and has since rebounded, at least to some extent.

According to GasBuddy price reports, the average price of regular gas Monday in Chattanooga was $1.66 a gallon, or 31 cents a gallon below the nationwide average of $1.97 a gallon.

"The pace of increases has begun to throttle back over the last week in most states as gasoline demand's recovery has slowed, keeping prices from matching their rapid pace from just a couple of weeks ago," said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy."Prices will continue to move in lock-step with the coronavirus situation, so it remains challenging to know where prices will go in the weeks ahead."

Prices of both gasoline and electricity fell as consumption has declined from so many businesses and stores being closed during April.

Brooks said April fuel expenses were the lowest that TVA has ever had since the inception of the fuel cost adjustment in October 2006.

TVA adjusts the fuel cost portion of electric bills every month to reflect the changing cost of fuels and generation types by TVA. The federal utility has pledged to keep its base rates stable for the next decade and began offering 3.1% rebates last fall to local power companies that signed 20-year power purchase agreements with TVA.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 757-6340

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File AP Photo/Mark Duncan / Electrcity rates average 2.4% less in Chattanoga than a year ago due to lower fuel costs for the Tennessee Valley Authority
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